FIBA Day 3: Delfino helps Argentina move to 3-0

Five games, five wins for Carlos Delfino and Ersan Ilyasova. Despite getting all they could handle from the underdog Angolans, Delfino and his Argentine teammates turned it on late to dispatch the African champs 91-70 earlier today, moving to a perfect 3-0 and pole position in Group A. They hung on to edge the Bogut-less Australians on Sunday by a 74-72 margin, and despite the perfect record they're still in search of their first comprehensive victory.  But hey, you might as well be winning while you're rounding into form, right?

Meanwhile, the Turkish hosts had today off after their 65-56 win over Russia on Sunday. On Tuesday they face Greece, Group C's other undefeated team, before finishing the group stage against Puerto Rico (Wednesday) and China (Thursday).  Follow the jump for some recaps of the past couple days' action.

Monday: Argentina 91, Angola 70 / Box Score 

Delfino: 34 min, 8/12 fg, 2/6 threes, 4/4 ft, 5 reb, 4 ast, 4 stl, 2 to

Sunday: Argentina 74, Australia 72 / Box Score
Delfino: 28 min, 3/11 fg, 0/6 threes, 6 rebs, 4 ast, 3 to

As Bucks fans, we know Carlitos can put up big numbers when he's got his shot working--the problem is consistency. In contrast to his 27-point outing on Saturday, Delfino started the Australia game playing more off the ball, at times parking in the corner much like he does with the Bucks. In general Carlitos seemed less involved with the offense, and he never found his rhythm either--witness the 0/6 line from deep.  Fortunately, the Argentines have this Scola fellow, who picked up the slack and then some with a dominating 31 points on 19 shots.

It looked like it might be a similar story on Monday, as Delfino missed his first two threes and Scola was again carrying the world's #1 ranked squad. Scola scored 17 of Argentina's 23 first quarter points, showing off his full arsenal of interior hooks, pump fakes, and bank shots.  But Delfino had a nice "slow but steady" type of game, scoring nine in the first half and then getting going a bit more in the third. First a hesitation move and reverse layup, then an open three, and a stop-and-go 18-footer with a defender in his grill from the left side. And when he wasn't shooting he knew who to give the ball to, time and again locating Scola in good positions. 

Despite all the points from the Big Two, Argentina surprisingly couldn't shake the Angolans--just two days after the Africans were annihilated 94-44 by Serbia (they bounced back to handle Jordan by 15 on Sunday, but still). Argentina opened up a 15-point edge in the third but like over the weekend had troubles putting away their lesser opponents. The African champions fought back to within five, and only in the fourth did Argentina's superior quality finally shine through.

Delfino looked a bit more energized on defense in the second half, and he effectively put the game away with a pair of steals and open court finishes through contact. His pair of three point plays as well as another steal that led to a Hernan Jasen dunk highlighted an 18-0 run to put the game away.  

Sunday: Turkey 65, Russia 56 / Box Score
Ilyasova: 32 min, 3/7 fg, 1/2 threes, 3/4 ft, 10 reb, 1 to, 1 stl

Turkey's 17-7 second quarter ended up the difference, but overall it was still a pretty entertaining game.  Plenty of physical play up front, and an equal amount of long range bombing (both teams 9/25) to keep the fans entertained.

As for Ersan, he had one of those awkward "rejected by the rim" type plays in the early going, but got back on track quickly with a short banker between two defenders and a quick catch-and-shoot triple from the wing in transition. He was leading both teams with 10 points and five boards by halftime, but missed his only attempts from the field in the second half and settled for a solid 10/10 double-double.

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