Huertas, Brazil Fall to Rival Argentina In Double Overtime

At several points throughout the extended ending of Brazil’s crucial match with Argentina, it looked like the Rio Olympics hosts were going to pull out victory against their rivals.

However, due to monumental twin efforts by Andres Nocioni and Facundo Campazzo, Argentina survived the shootout with a 111-107 double-overtime win at Carioca Arena.

Lakers point guard Marcelo Huertas served as the director of Brazil’s offense, tallying 14 points (5-of-11) and three assists. However, the Brazilian captain was absent when his team needed him most, having fouled out early in the first overtime.

Nocioni was an inferno for Argentina (2-2) all night long, racking up 37 points, which tied teammate Luis Scola’s national Olympic record from the 2008 Games.

While also collecting 11 rebounds, Nocioni shot 11-of-19 from the field and 7-of-8 on free throws, plus a game-breaking 8-of-12 from 3-point range. He saved his most sensational play for the end of regulation after Huertas hit a pair of clutch free throws.

Nocioni fired a corner triple on the next possession, which bounced around the rim and in to tie at 85 with three seconds left. Brazil (1-3) came up fruitless on its responding attempt, as Nene Hilario passed to Huertas at the least second, and the Laker’s desperation shot simply bounced off the side of the backboard.

Huertas — who entered the game with the Olympics’ third-highest assist average (6.3)— was in charge to start the extra frame, hitting Alex Garcia for a dime on the first score of overtime. However, “Marcelinho” picked up his fifth and final foul immediately after.

The Brazilians nonetheless led by as many as six in the first overtime before Argentina clawed its way back. Campazzo capped off this blitz by providing the tying layup with 36 seconds remaining.

Argentina took over from the start of double overtime, opening up the period with eight unanswered points. Leandro Barbosa, who was scoreless until this point, nearly singlehandedly brought Brazil back by scoring nine straight for his team to cut its deficit to 106-105 with 77 seconds left.

Though Nocioni and Scola (14 points, 10 rebounds) fouled out, Argentina still came away with the victory.

Much of this win could be credited to Campazzo, who recorded his team’s third double-double with 33 points and 11 assists. He also shot 9-of-22 from the field and 10-of-12 at the foul line while adding five 3-pointers and four steals.

On the other end, Nene led Brazil with 25 points (11-of-17) and 11 rebounds.

Now saddled with a 1-3 record, Brazil must win its final game in pool play and receive some help in order to advance to the quarterfinals. The Brazilians will need to defeat Nigeria on Monday at 10:15 a.m. PT and sneak in via losses by Spain or Croatia.

If Brazil wins and only Spain loses, the Brazilians will move on due to their head-to-head win over the Spaniards. If Croatia loses as well then the two teams that scored the most points will advance. As of now, Spain has 340, followed by Brazil (325) and Croatia (310).

However, Brazil does not own the head-to-head advantage over the Croatians.

At 1-3 with 323 points scored, Nigeria also has an outside chance of making the quarterfinals.

Spain Dominates Grudge Match
Huertas' fellow Laker, Jose Calderon, watched his Spanish national team dominate Lithuania, 109-59, later in the day. With the game well in hand, Calderon came off the bench in the fourth quarter, played six minutes and tallied three points, one rebound and one assist.

Spain (2-2), which had lost twice to Lithuania (3-1) in pre-Olympics exhibitions, had no problem this time around, never trailed as it got off to a 26-11 first quarter. Later on, the second-ranked Spaniards piled it on by doubling their opponent in a 61-30 second half.

Pau Gasol led the way with 23 points, including a perfect 5-of-5 mark on 3-pointers, en route to handing the No. 3 Lithuanians their first loss in Rio.

Spain now looks to secure a spot in the quarterfinals by beating Argentina on Monday at 3 p.m.