In case you missed it, for the second game in a row, things got a little physical between the United States and Argentina Monday during the final game of pool play. Carmelo Anthony was attempting a three pointer when Facundo Campazzo gave him a shot to the pills on his follow through. The two teams started jawing at each other, giving Olympic basketball its first moment of physicality that would suggest it's more than an exhibition. Team USA pulled away from Argentina, but as Jason Quick from the Oregonian reports, Team USA felt they needed to send a message to their potential semi-final foe.
"You kind of want to send a message a little bit.," Kobe Bryant said. "This was the second game in a row that this team has played us close. We didn't want to give them confidence."
They're the only team to ever knock the Americans out of the Olympics since professionals were allowed in and despite the fact that it happened eight years ago, the Argentinians (most of whom played on that '04 team) have a certain built-in confidence against the Americans. It's a confidence that can only come with the experience of beating a team, which explains in part why the Lithuanians always give Team USA such a hard time.
It's doubtful that Monday's second half beatdown will do anything to deter the Argentinians from thinking they can beat Team USA, but Manu Ginobili and Co. have a more pressing problem. They next play a Brazil team that just knocked off Spain to finish out Group B pool play. Considering the built in rivalry between the two countries, head coach Julio Lamas won't let his team look past their South American neighbors with a chance to advance to the medal round on the line.
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