NBA today, IMF tomorrow!
lnp3 at panix.com
Thu Sep 5 07:50:41 MDT 2002
NY Times, Sept. 5, 2002
ARGENTINA 87, UNITED STATES 80
10-Year Winning Streak Ends for U.S. Basketball
By MIKE WISE
INDIANAPOLIS, Sept. 4 Down by 20 points before halftime, dumbfounded by a
former Temple University point guard in need of work, 12 N.B.A. players and
their tortured coach were shockingly outplayed by a team from another
A bunch of ambidextrous, unfazed players from Argentina thumbed their noses
at the American stars, took the game to the United States and won, 87-80,
in the world basketball championships.
It was the first loss by N.B.A. players in international competition a
streak going back 10 years and 58 games and it came before 5,623 fans at
Conseco Fieldhouse, which seats 18,345.
In the heartland of hoops, with even Reggie Miller unable to bail his team
out, the Argentines delivered, picking the Americans' pride and panache
clean at midcourt.
"It's an embarrassment," said point guard Andre Miller, who scored 14
points. "It's obviously an embarrassment. We're supposed to be the
so-called superstars, representing the U.S.A., and we didn't even lead the
Indeed, this was not the product of some foreign 3-point binge, some
fortuitous bounce at the buzzer, or an officiating travesty, à la Munich 1972.
Argentina never trailed, led by 52-32 a minute before halftime, and took 14
fewer 3-pointers than did the United States. Argentina outmuscled,
outpassed and outshot a United States team that looked more poorly
constructed as the game wore on.
Without a dominant presence down low and with spotty perimeter shooters,
the United States team is big on athletes but short on height and balance.
A brave new basketball universe was always rumored to be out there, ever
since Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson and the Dream Team took their skills
and their lore to Barcelona, Spain, in 1992 and gave the rest of the world
something to emulate. But never had reality set in so hard, the notion that
someone on another continent could actually beat, let alone rout, N.B.A.
"The symbolic importance is, it's a great game," United States Coach George
Karl said. "It's a game the world has fallen in love with. In this time of
feeling poorly and awful, there's a part of me that's a celebration of
basketball. It's a game that a lot of countries love and we must accept the
challenge to compete stronger and better."
At the end, Emanuel Ginobili, a 6-foot-6 shooting guard drafted by the San
Antonio Spurs whom most of the world has yet to hear about, went hard to
the basket for layups against Ben Wallace, the N.B.A's defensive player of
the year, sneaking in left-handed shots off the glass.
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