Manu looks rusty, but Argentina cruises to easy win over Paraguay

Argentina showed Tuesday why most observers have pegged them as a heavy favorite to win the FIBA Americas  tournament.

“The Golden Generation” jumped on Paraguay early and cruised to an 84-52 victory in their first game of the tournament at Mar del Plata, Argentina.

For Spurs Nation, the best part of the game was seeing Manu Ginobili playing in mid-season form, without the “Robo Cop” bandage on his broken right arm from the playoffs.

Ginobili started at shooting guard, but served more in the role of a playmaker than as a shooter for his team. He struggled at times with three of Argentina’s 12 turnovers, but also added 10 points, four rebounds, two assists and two steals. 

The Argentina defense allowed Paraguay to shoot only 30 percent from the field. And their offense was strong as they sliced through Paraguay’s match-up zone defense for 69 percent shooting in the first quarter en route to an early 30-8 lead and cruised from there.

Former Spurs center Fabricio Oberto did not play in Tuesday’s game as he recovers from a ruptured muscle in his hand. He is expected to be ready for Argentina’s game Friday against Puerto Rico.  

Paolo Quinteros led Argentina with 19 points and Luis Scola added 14, including his first five field-goal attempts.

The Argentinians return to action at 4 p.m. Wednesday against Uruguay. Their first-game performance was a strong statement heading into the rest of the tournament.

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