In a battle between the only two Brooklyn Nets participating in this year's Olympics, Luis Scola and Argentina came out on top against Bojan Bogdanovic and Croatia, 90-82.
Right from the opening tip, Scola dominated. His 13 first quarter points helped Argentina jump out to an early lead, a lead that would get as high as 20 points by the third quarter. However a furious comeback led by Bogdanovic and Dario Saric cut it to a mere four point game with 30 seconds left. A somewhat controversial foul on Croatia's (and Orlando Magic) Mario Hezonja led to technical fouls on both the Croatian head coach and assistant coach. Once Scola made two free throws, the game was pretty much over.
Scola finished with a game-high 23 points to go with his nine rebounds and two blocks. The Argentinian shot 8-for-15 from the field, and once again showed his ability to knock down the three pointer by going 3-for-5 from long range. Scola did struggle from the free throw line, missing five of his nine attempts. This was unusual for Scola as the power forward is a career 74.2% shooter from the charity stripe.
Bogdanovic did not have as strong of a night, shooting 5-for-13 overall and a dismal 1-for-6 from the three point line. However he still finished the game with 18 points as he made seven of his eleven attempts from the free throw line, while adding seven rebounds, two assists, and one block. It was the first time the Croatian had failed to score 20 points in either the Olympic Qualifying Tournament or the Olympics.
Next up, Argentina takes on Lithuania on Thursday while Croatia faces off against Brazil.
Matt Citak, SNY.tv
The more I watch Scola in the Olympics, the happier I am with the one-year deal Sean Marks and the Nets gave him. At 36-years old, the power forward did not play to his age last night as he looked like the best player on the court (his 36 minutes also tied Saric for a game-high). During his 13-point first quarter, Scola was moving around the court and finding cracks in the defense to get himself open for easy shots. His ability to hit shots from the outside is sure to cause headaches for opposing big men this upcoming season.
It's no surprise that the Argentinian is pretty slow-footed on defense. That's why it was great to see him with quick hands as he was defending the paint against Saric. Even at times when he got beat, Scola managed to recover and alter the Croatian big man's shot, ending the game with two blocks. His quick hands were also highlighted when he stripped Bogdanovic on a drive late in the game. We know he can provide a spark to the Nets on offense, but if he can step up on the defensive side of the court as well, Scola is going to make Marks look like an absolute genius.
Bogdanovic finally came back to Earth last night, snapping his streak of games with 20 or more points. It was an off night for the guard as his 38.4% shooting percentage is significantly lower than what we've come accustomed to seeing from the Croatian. However he ended the game with 18 points, showing that even when he doesn't have his A-game, Bogdanovic can still find ways to score. His jump shot wasn't on so instead, he drove to the basket and drew fouls on Argentina, racking up a game-high 11 free throw attempts. It's important that he's able to make these type of in-game adjustments with the Nets this season.