August 11, 2012
By Luka Papalko
The semi-finals have concluded and the final matchups are set with the medals now up for grabs. Argentina is scheduled to take on Russia in the Bronze game at 6AM (ET). The championship game between Spain and Team USA will be at 10AM (ET). Both games figure to be good matchups and should be entertaining games to watch.
The first game on the schedule of Russia versus Argentina will be a matchup of two contrasting styles. The two have not played during the Olympics thus far but have faced tough opponents throughout that should prepare them for this matchup. Argentina is coming off of a big loss to Team USA while Russia is coming off of a well-battled game versus Spain.
For Russia, they will try to slow down the game and take advantage of their team play. They will need someone to step up to assist in the scoring outside of Andrei Kirilenko. Argentina is a very potent offensive team and while Russia's defense is one of the best at the Olympics, it's unlikely they'll be able to contain them for the entire game. Their head coach, David Blatt, has done a terrific coaching job thus far. Look for his team to well prepared and to have a good game-plan in place.
Unfortunately for Argentina, they faced a USA team that was hitting on all cylinders. Going up against Russia for the bronze medal will be a different type of game but something that better suits them. This team will go as far as their Big 3 of Luis Scola, Manu Ginobli and Carlos Delfino will carry them. They will also need to focus on limiting Russia's second chance opportunities and keeping them off of the boards.
The championship game will be a re-match of the 2008 Olympics when Spain and Team USA met with Team USA taking home the gold medal. The game was tightly contested and high scoring, which many expect Sunday's game to be. The two have not played during the Olympics but did play in the exhibition portion prior in which Team USA was challenged but beat Spain.
Spain started out the tournament a bit shaky during group play but has played better during their last 3 games. The Spanish roster is very talented and figures to give Team USA problems with their size. Their big men played well versus Team USA and is the advantage they have over them. In addition, Spain's guards will need to play well especially with their perimeter defense.
For Team USA, they've been playing their best basketball of late and no team has been able to keep up with them for all 4 quarters. Their explosive perimeter oriented attack has been devastating for opposing teams, especially with multiple players pouring in the points at any given point. The key for Team USA will be their post defense as Tyson Chandler, Anthony Davis and Kevin Love are the lone true big men on the team.