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Olympics: Ginobili Takes Argentina's basketball team to 97-82 win over Iran

TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Emanuel David Ginobili Saturday notched up 32 points to lead Argentina to a 97-82 victory over Iran in the Olympic men's basketball tournament.

Defending gold medal Argentina steadily increased its lead throughout the game to beat Iran 97-82 in a group A preliminary Men's Basketball game on Saturday, August 16.

Both teams were led by outstanding performances from their top players. Argentina's star Manu Ginobili scored a whopping 32 points, including four three-pointers, while 2007 Americas Championship MVP Luis Scola had 20 points and grabbed 7 rebounds. Iran's center Hamed Haddadi led his team with 21 points and a game-high 16 rebounds.

Ginobili led all scorers in the game, hitting 10 of 14 field goal attempts and giving out four assists.

"It just happened. I made a couple shots, I felt good and started shooting threes and they all went in," the star guard said. "It wasn't premeditated."

The Iranians shot behind the arc, hitting four, but made only one of nine two point attempts amid a tough Argentina defense in a tight first quarter.

The lead changed four times and Argentines eked out a five-point advantage by the end of the first quarter.

The offence of Argentina worked in the paint in the second quarter though an Iranian 6-0 run whittled the margin down to two points early in the quarter.

After Oshin Sahakian of Iran grabbed an offensive rebound with two seconds to play in the second quarter, Iranian Hamed Afagh Eslamieh scored two points with Iran trailing 42-33.

Argentina went to the half with a 42-33 lead, and outscored Iran on two-pointers for a 97-82 finish, despite Iran's last ditch effort of a 9-0 scoring run in the final two minutes.

The Argentines, the reigning Olympics champion, prevailed in the third quarter with Ginobili hitting four three-pointers, leading 72-57, and stayed on the margin by the end of the second half.

"We were competitive for some parts of the game," said Iranian coach Rajko Toroman. "This is a great result to be within 15 points of a team like Argentina. It is a dream result for us."

"We expected this. It's our first time in the tournament and the teams play better," Mohammad-Samad Nikkhah Bahrami, Iran's forward, said.

"We practice very hard, but we're focusing on the experience of the games and the future," he added.

Iran qualified for the Beijing Olympics by winning the 2007 FIBA Asia tournament.

Iran will take on Croatia and Argentina will meet Russia on Monday.

Argentina now has a 3-1 win-loss record, while Iran has yet to get a victory. This game was important for Argentina to distinguish itself from Australia and Croatia, who both have a 2-2 record after four games played. All three of these teams trail in their group behind Lithuania, and all hope to avoid a fourth-place finish in group A that would send them to face the United States in the quarterfinal.

"Every game is important," said Argentina forward Juan Pedro Gutierrez Llanas. "We play Russia on Monday and it is important to win that game and avoid finishing fourth. They are European champions and it will be a tough game."

"Today we didn't play great," said Ginobili. "We rested a little bit, not because we wanted to, but that's the way it looked."

"We made too many mistakes," he added.

... Payvand News - 08/16/08 ... --

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