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Scola leads unbeaten Argentina over Canada in Americas

Scola leads unbeaten Argentina over Canada in Americas

Carlos Delfino scored nine points in Argentina's game-opening 22-4 run and the South Americans remained unbeaten with an 85-70 victory over Canada in the second round of the Americas championship on Tuesday.
Also, the United States downed Puerto Rico 117-78, Venezuela beat Uruguay 88-79 and Brazil downed Mexico 104-90.
While the U.S. has been drawing the attention on its home soil with its roster of NBA stars, Argentina just keeps winning in hopes of securing one of the two berths from this competition for the Beijing Olympics.
"This was our second-most important game of the tournament to not play the U.S. in the semifinals," Delfino said. "We played good because we knew this was our second final."
The key game will be against Brazil on Wednesday. The game against the United States on Thursday to close the second round won't matter. Argentina will have already clinched second place and that means avoiding the U.S. in the semifinals and a much better chance at getting that Olympic bid.
"Brazil is our big game," Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez said. "Then we have to win a semifinal to get what we came here for."
Argentina dominated Canada from the tip and the halftime lead was 46-16.
David Thomas had 13 points for Canada, which closes the second round against Mexico and Puerto Rico, two possible wins that would mean a semifinal berth, although it likely would be against the United States.
The third- through fifth-place finishers here advance to an Olympic qualifying tournament next July where three more berths are available.
Luis Scola had 23 points for Argentina.
The U.S. victory over Puerto Rico was belated revenge for the stunning defeat it suffered at the hands of the same team at the 2004 Olympics.
LeBron James scored 21 points for the Americans, who clinched a spot in Saturday's semifinals _ where a win would earn them a berth in the Beijing Olympics.
The United States plays Uruguay on Wednesday before closing second-round play Thursday against Argentina. But even with losses in those two games, the Americans would still be guaranteed a spot Saturday.
"Saturday will take care of itself," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "Obviously we want to go undefeated and get the No. 1. seed, that's our goal. We'll be ready to play whoever we face."
The Puerto Ricans gave the Americans another tough test last year at the world championships, and looked as if they would make things difficult again Tuesday for about 9 minutes, but then were run off the floor in the second quarter.
"We played them twice last year and they scored 100 points against us in Japan last year, a game we had a 20-point lead in. We had a great team meeting today going through our scouting report and the guys responded well."
Larry Ayuso scored 13 points for Puerto Rico, which plays Venezuela on Wednesday.
"We played a superior team today with the best players from the NBA," said Puerto Rico coach Manolo Cintron, adding the difference from Athens was "in the back of the room, Jose Ortiz. He was the face of the Puerto Rico team for 26 years. Right now we have a new team trying to develop, grow up and compete with the USA physically."
Leandro Barbosa, the Americas tournament's leading scorer, had 21 points to lead Brazil over Mexico.
The NBA's Sixth Man of the Year with the Phoenix Suns last season, Barbosa fell just short of his tournament average of 23.8.
Brazil (3-2) pulled away from a 24-24 tie early in the second quarter with an 11-2 run to lead 53-39 at halftime and then went ahead by as many as 32 points.
Romel Beck had 29 points for Mexico (1-4), which again had trouble stopping an opponent. Mexico came into the game allowing an average of 101.2 points per game, last among the eight teams that advanced to the second round.
Brazil closes second-round play with games against undefeated Argentina and Uruguay. Two wins would virtually guarantee Brazil a spot in the semifinals and one would have them in the hunt to win a possible tiebreaker to get into the final four.
Mexico closes with games against Canada and Venezuela and needs two wins to even have a chance at a top-five finish.
Hector Romero had 35 points and 11 rebounds in Venezuela's 88-79 victory over Uruguay.
Romero scored six points in the final 44 seconds for Venezuela, which led by 12 points with 3:25 to play only to see Uruguay close within one point.
Venezuela missed five shots and committed a turnover during a 2-minute scoring drought that allowed Uruguay to cut it to 79-78 with 1:40 left.
Carlos Cedeno scored on a layup with 1:20 left for Venezuela to end the drought. After Uruguay got within 81-79 with 1:10 left, Romero went 4-for-4 from the free-throw line and scored on a drive to seal the win.
Venezuela closes the second round with games against Puerto Rico and Mexico.
Esteban Batista had 21 points and 20 rebounds for Uruguay, which has started the second round with losses to Canada and Venezuela. Its last two games in the second round are against the United States and Brazil.


Updated : 2021-04-22 02:46 GMT+08:00