Brazil, though they are the home team and have a roster that’s chock-full of NBA players, just can’t seem to find their footing in the Olympics. They eked out a gutsy one-point victory against a very talented Spain team in their second game, but have lost to Lithuanian and Croatian teams that weren’t heralded as particularly strong before the Games began. Their scoring has been fairly balanced across the board, with guard Leandro Barbosa scoring 14 points per game, but as a team they are only averaging 73 points per game, which might not be enough against a team as offensively talented as Argentina. With speedy guards like Marcelo Huertas and Leandro Barbosa coupled with talented big men like Nene Hilario and Cristiano Felico, the Brazilians present a tough match for any opponent in Rio, especially as they have home court advantage and the support of their fans.
Meanwhile, the Argentinians will be facing their most difficult opponent yet when they take on Brazil. They recently demolished Nigeria and narrowly beat Croatia, but took a loss to Lithuania. Lithuania is 3-0 and is truly a dangerous team, and even Croatia has some quality basketball players on their roster. Luis Scola, who’s averaging 18 points per game, and Manu Ginobili, who’s putting up 16 points per game have led the team in scoring through three games. The team doesn’t have any other current NBA players on its roster, though Carlos Delfino used to play in the Association. Argentina is averaging 86 points per game so far, so they just might be able to outscore the methodical Brazilians.
Brazil had the guts to beat Spain in the closing seconds of that game, and Argentina doesn’t pose the same kind of threat Spain did. Brazil should dominate the paint in this game, and you should expect Nene and Cristiano Felicio to put up some big numbers. Brazil’s balanced scoring should come in handy in this one, and they'll really need to control the pace of the game if they hope to win. With the preliminary round nearing its end, this is a must-win game for Rio’s beloved home team.
Though Argentina has been impressive in their first three games, they're coming off a loss and entering a game in which the entire crowd will be behind their opponent. Their two best players are well past their prime, especially compared to Brazil’s younger stars. You shouldn't see Argentina scoring nearly as much in this game because of Brazil’s slow pace and solid defense.
- Sports.net's top tip: Brazil, the home team, wins this one by 8.
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