from the official website:
Group F: Argentina 87, U.S. 80
By Conrad Brunner
Indianapolis, Sept. 4 - It will be billed as one of the greatest upsets in international sport, but in fact it was the reflection of a simple truth, no matter what the country.
It is hardly unusual for a good team to beat a collection of great individuals.
Argentina, a national team that has trained together for more than a year, soundly defeated the United States, a collection of NBA players who spent a scant two weeks in training for the World Basketball Championship, 87-80 on Wednesday night in Conseco Fieldhouse.
It was the first loss for the U.S. in 59 international games with NBA players on the roster.
Argentina (6-0) thus earns the top spot in Group F and will face Brazil in the quarterfinals. The United States (5-1) faces another stern challenge in its first quarterfinal game against Yugoslavia.
Emanuel Ginobili led the balanced Argentina attack with 15 points. Andres Noccioni scored 14, Luis Scola 13 and Fabricio Oberto 11. Argentina had little trouble picking apart the U.S. defense, shooting 50 percent for the game, with assists in 23 of the 33 field goals. Though the NBA-stocked U.S. team is supposed to have superior depth, Argentina owned a 36-22 advantage in bench scoring.
The U.S. shot 38 percent and was led by Paul Pierce with 22 points. Michael Finley and Andre Miller scored 14 apiece
amazing, outstanding, astounding, incredible, well, should happen soon or later
i am still amazed, especially because two weeks ago Argentina have played in Mexico, and Mexico have won by 11 points!
so the invincible team is not longer invincible!
i remember the words of the former coach of the Soviet Union (can't remember his name, but is who have won the gold medal in Seoul 88)
he said this: (Paraphrasing)
"first (talking on USA basket team) they just sent a bunch of players of any level and they has beaten us. But we started to win. Later they sent a team with college players; they killed us, but later we learnt how to defeat them. Later they sent their stars from the NCAA, and they dominates us easily, but later we defeated them. Finally they are sending their NBA stars, and they are destroying every team. But one day we are going to defeat them."
Well this day almost arrives the last olympics when Lithuania and France almost defeats USA: But tonight wednesday 4 of september of 2002 finally the Invincible team was defeated.
since now the basketball won't be the same never ever.
don't misinterpret me, the USA team is still, maybe, the best team of the world. but this "maybe" is the BIG difference that brings the amazing victory of Argentina over the NBA stars
INDIANAPOLIS -- Argentina pulled off a victory that until recently was believed to be nearly impossible, defeating the United States 87-80 on Wednesday night at the men's basketball World Championships.
It was the first loss ever for a U.S. team in 59 games since the Americans began sending NBA players to international tournaments in 1992.
Argentina's victory was shocking in and of itself, but what made it even more incredible was the manner in which they accomplished it. The United States never led in the game, trailed by as many as 20 and couldn't mount an adequate comeback down the stretch.
The Argentine players leaped and hugged each other as the final buzzer sounded, while the American players stuck around and congratulated them. The Argentines then formed a tight huddle for several seconds before emerging with their hands raised to salute a small but vocal contingent of their fans in the lower seats at Conseco Fieldhouse.
The defeat did not knock the U.S. team out of the tournament, it merely gave them a lower seed for the medal round. There is a chance the teams can meet again before the tournament ends.
"It's not the medal round, and we'll be back to win the gold,'' defiant guard Baron Davis said.
This U.S. team had said it wanted to keep the unbeaten streak intact, but it also knew that the competition from around the world was not as weak as it once was. Like the U.S. team, Argentina won its first five games at the World Championships to set up a meeting of the only two nations with unblemished records.
Now, there's only one team with a perfect record.
"They were a lot better than we thought,'' Davis said. "They were just beating us every which way.''
U.S. teams had two close calls in the past two years, defeating Lithuania by just two points at the 2000 Olympics and needing overtime to beat Brazil at the Goodwill Games in 2001.
Many of the best American players declined to participate in this tournament, and this version of Team USA looked quite vulnerable over the past week -- especially against nations that now have their own NBA players.
"We are human beings and we dream. To say we were going to beat them, I did not know. I knew we had one of the best chances,'' Argentina guard Pepe Sanchez said. "We came to play, we came to compete. As the game unfolded, we said 'Wow, we could really do this.' ''
The first sign that emotions were high came less than four minutes into the game, when Paul Pierce was knocked down by Hugo Sconochini and then stuck his leg out in a deliberate attempt to trip him.
Pierce continued to go after Sconochini and was whistled for two holding fouls in the span of one second. That deprived the U.S. team of its most consistent offensive player, and they did not make a field goal for the next five minutes.
The emotional outbursts from the U.S. team kept coming.
Jermaine O'Neal picked up a flagrant foul late in the first quarter for shoving Scola to the ground after Scola rejected his dunk attempt, and the U.S. coaching staff ran onto the court at the end of the quarter to complain when Reggie Miller didn't get a call.
The frustration continued in the second quarter, when the Americans had trouble getting off decent shots. Argentina, on the other hand, used its crisp passing to repeatedly find players open under the basket for layups and dunks.
Andres Nocioni, who had a memorable dunk over Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan at the 1999 Olympic qualifier, unleashed another impressive jam over Ben Wallace early in the second quarter. He then stole the ensuing inbounds pass at midcourt and made two foul shots for a 41-23 lead.
A driving layup by Emanuel Ginobili gave Argentina a 52-32 lead with 1:14 left in the half.
"They have better talent, they have better training, but I think we played better today. You gotta believe,'' forward Luis Scola said.
Third-quarter rallies had become the U.S. team's forte in the first five games of this tournament, but this one took some time to commence.
The Americans got their deifcit down to a dozen early in the third on a 3-pointer by Pierce, but their offensive troubles wouldn't go away. After Ruben Wolkowyski hit a 3-pointer from the corner to make it 62-47, Andre Miller sped into the lane and got inside for a layup that rolled in and out.
Pierce hit a 3-pointer to cut the deficit to 64-57, sparking the first chant of "U-S-A'' heard during the entire tournament. But the Argentine fans were back on their feet at the end of the quarter after Ginobili scored on a drive for a 68-60 lead entering the fourth.
The final period began after a brief chanting duel between the fans of the two countries, but the Amerian fans fell silent -- aside from their gasps -- as Argentina twice got open for layups off inbounds passes with the shot clock about to expire.
A 24-second violation and a turnover by the U.S. were answered by a pair of daring driving layups by Ginobili and Sconochini, upping the lead to 76-63 with 5:55 left.
O'Neal was incredulous when he was called for a loose ball foul with 4:23 left, and the American players had blank looks on their faces as they shuffled back to the bench during a timeout.
Baron Davis scored inside and then dunked (and hung onto the rim, showing off) off an Argentina turnover to make it 80-71 with 2:28 left. Another turnover was followed by four consecutive misses by the U.S. team -- two of them from right underneath the basket.
A charging foul against Michael Finley ended the next U.S. possession, and a blocking foul on Davis led to a pair of foul shots by Nocioni for an 83-73 lead with 1:10 left.
A missed foul shot by Miller, an off-target 3 by Davis and a turnover and foul by Pierce comprised the next three U.S. possessions.
Indianapolis, Sept. 4 - It will be billed as the greatest upset in basketball history, and that is surely a fact. What is equally true, and perhaps even more telling, is that the game reflected a truth pure and simple no matter what the sport or the country: good teams can beat great individuals.
Argentina, a national team that has trained together more than a year, soundly defeated the United States, a collection of NBA players that has been together roughly a month, 87-80 in the second round of the World Basketball Championship on Wednesday night in Conseco Fieldhouse.
It was the first loss for the U.S. after 58 consecutive victories in international competition with an NBA-stocked roster.
"Me, myself, personally, I'm embarrassed to be on the team that took the first loss," said Paul Pierce, who scored 22 points but was not an offensive force. "We could go on to win the gold medal, but we'll still be that team."
There was nothing flukish or suspect about the outcome. Argentina completely outplayed the U.S. in every way, with more efficient offensive execution, superior shot-making and more aggressive defense. The U.S. never led and trailed by as many as 20 points.
"The team had conviction to not lose the battle before starting," said Ruben Magnano, Argentina's head coach. "We knew how difficult the game was going to be but we also knew it was not impossible. The conviction of the team, the spirit to thrive, was above anything technical or tactical and that is what allowed us to win."
Argentina shot 50 percent, had 23 assists and committed just 12 turnovers to defeat a U.S. defensive strategy built on wearing opponents down with relentless ball pressure. Emanuel Ginobili, bound for the San Antonio Spurs in the 2002-03 season, scored 15 points to lead a balanced offense. Andres Noccioni scored 14, Louis Scola 13 and Fabricio Oberto 11 with nine rebounds. Though the U.S. is supposed to have superior depth, Argentina enjoyed a 36-22 advantage in bench scoring.
The U.S. shot 38 percent overall and lost its composure, reflected in 28 attempts from the 3-point line (making just nine). Six of Pierce's 22 points came on heaved 3-pointers after the outcome was decided. Michael Finley and Andre Miller each scored 14. The interior defense was inept, surrendering repeated uncontested layups.
"The only weakness they have is they do not know each other," said Ginobili. "They had no team defense. ... There is not a bond like us. We know each other. We know where picks will be, when to cut for a pass. Apparently, the United States did not."
The American team's tendency to sleepwalk through the first half proved costly. Argentina built a 15-point lead in the first quarter and stretched it to 53-37 at the break. There would be no second-half explosion from the U.S., as had been the case in the previous four victories.
"We lost our composure against their intensity," said coach George Karl. "They played very hard in the first half. Our lack of urgency has been a problem in other games and tonight it really hurt us."
The U.S. appeared to be gaining momentum when both Scola and Noccioni picked up their fourth fouls while the lead was pared to 64-58. It was 70-63 early in the fourth after a Reggie Miller 3-pointer ignited the Indiana crowd, but Argentina responded with six consecutive points, all on layups or drives, from Oberto, Ginobili and Hugo Schonochini, and there would be no further serious challenge as the U.S. offense devolved into a panic of 3-point shots.
"My team and my country will be challenged by this," said Karl. "It will be interesting to see how we respond."
Because, right, this time they went with a C class team, but, in the Sidney Olimpics, they went with a B+ team, and they were just a few inches from losing against Lithuania, with that 3-point shot from Sarunas Jasikevicius. And, in that team, were playing superstars as Vince Carter, Jason Kidd, Kevin Garnett and Allan Houston, do you know them?
They should know that, if they want to win easily every match, they have to play with their best team. If not, they're going to lose again.