The group phase of the men’s Olympic basketball tournament wrapped up this weekend with Argentina grabbing one of the final spots in the quarterfinals with a 97-77 win over Japan. The margin of victory was crucial for Argentina (1-2), as they clinched the spot over other one-win teams based on point differential.
New Knick Luca Vildoza, who hadn’t exactly impressed in the tournament up to this point, played a solid game, with 7 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds and 1 steal. The Argentines dominated Japan in his 25:28 on court, posting a plus-18. There were even a couple of highlights.
Here’s Knicks Argentine guard Luca Vildoza with a ridiculous in-game behind-the-back pass, but Luis Scola couldn’t finish it. pic.twitter.com/KyoYumMhAe— alder almo (@alderalmo) August 1, 2021
Luca Vildoza has to extend his stay in Tokyo as Argentina punches a ticket to the QF after a 20-pt win over Japan. The Knicks guard finished with 7 pts, 2 rebs, 4 asts & 1 stl. QF is on Tuesday. If Argentina wins, they move on to semis on Thurs. NBA Summer League is on Sunday. pic.twitter.com/teh5PfDjBM— alder almo (@alderalmo) August 1, 2021
Argentina will take on undefeated Australia in the quarterfinals. Luca will have to bring his best.
France had a much more successful run through the group stages, going 3-0, including an upset win over Team USA. Sadly, Frank Ntilikina sat out the first two games with a leg injury. But the French Prince returned for their final game against Iran.
Frank had a fairly Frank-like game in his return to action: 3 points, 4 assists, 2 rebounds in 19 minutes. Teammate Evan Fournier mentioned that it was important to get Frank back for future matchups, because he can use his length to bother players like Luka Doncic. Clearly, Frank’s reputation as a Luka killer precedes him.
Evan Fournier sur Ntilikina— Frank Ntilikina France (@FrNtilikina) August 1, 2021
"C'était un match pour lancer Frank qui peut-être important pour la suite. Il amène, en plus de la défense, de la taille. Il pourrait vraiment faire chier Doncic si on le croise grâce à ses longs bras. En plus, il est capable de mettre des tirs." pic.twitter.com/krWn4BRkoX
France will play Italy in the quarterfinals. All quarterfinal games will take place on Tuesday, Japan time. My rudimentary time zone skills tell me that France-Italy will tip off at 4:20 PM EST and Argentina-Australia will tip at 8:00 PM EST. Feel free to correct me in the comments.