Ginobili, Argentina handle Joseph, Canada

If you think NBA back-to-backs are difficult, try eight games in 10 days at the FIBA Americas Olympic qualifying tournament, as Spurs guard Manu Ginobili and those who advanced to the second round have encountered.

Throw in a sinus infection, and you have a recipe for a missed game or two.

After missing Argentina’s Sunday practice, Ginobili wasn’t certain he would be able to make tipoff for the game against Canada, the first of the second round that will determine the semifinalists.

Nine hours and a few antibiotics later, he was fresh enough to drop 14 first-half points on Canada, then turn facilitator in a 79-53 victory in Mar Del Plata, Argentina.

Argentina (5-0) hasn’t been threatened in any game thus far. Ginobili was happy merely to feel good enough to suit up.

“I had two really bad days and nights, just couldn’t breathe easily,” he said. “Yesterday I started with some medicine and slept about nine hours.

“That sleep was very helpful for me, but this is a tough tournament if you are not sleeping well. You play four in five nights, then have one day off, and now we have four in four. So resting is huge, and yesterday, by the time we were to come to practice, I just couldn’t make it. But I had a good night, and today was a different story.”

Ginobili didn’t shoot well, missing 10 of 14 shots, but finished with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists in 27 minutes.

Canada stayed in striking range through most of the first three periods, down nine with two minutes left in the third. Ginobili assisted on three quick Argentine baskets to start the fourth, and the local heroes never led by fewer than 15 thereafter.

Spurs draftee and former Longhorns star Cory Joseph failed to score or get an assist. He had three rebounds.

“I’m in a little shooting slump,” Joseph said, “but it’s something I’m working on every day.”

BRAZIL 93, URUGUAY 66: Spurs center Tiago Splitter had nine points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. After missing five of six shots in the first half, Splitter made all three in the second half. He was the game’s top rebounder.

— Mike Monroe

FRANCE 97, SERBIA 96 (OT): In Siauliai, Lithuania, Tony Parker’s two free throws with 19 seconds left in overtime gave him 24 points and the game-winning tallies.

Marko Keselj led the Serbs with 25 points, including seven 3-pointers, the last of which gave his team a 96-95 lead with 24 seconds left.

Joakim Noah added 14 points and nine rebounds for France.

Parker missed a 3-pointer at the end of regulation, and the contest went to a fifth period tied at 80.

— Associated Press

Leave a Reply