360 degree view of the Palau Sant Jordi in Barcelona. We play USA here tonight. 360.io/CpmhQX
— Manu Ginobili (@manuginobili) July 22, 2012
The big game is not tonight. There is a game, yes, but it is not the big one. That’ll come Tuesday night when the Americans play Spain in Barcelona at the arena pictured in Manu’s tweet above.
What is notable about tonight’s US-Argentina game is that it is the only friendly the Americans will play against a team they are certain to face in the Olympics. The teams will meet again in a game that has meaning on the final day of first-round competition in at the London Olympics on Monday, Aug. 6.
The Americans’ other exhibition games have been or will be against teams in the other group (Great Britain, Brazil, Spain) and one team that failed to qualify (Dominican Republic). And as is customary in these friendlies, neither team will show the other too many of their best tactical schemes. That probably means the Americans will not play against a zone defense, even though teams have liked to use that against past versions of Team USA — and they will do so again in London until Team USA shows it can knock down shots from outside.
One thing to watch for tonight is a potential one-on-one matchup between LeBron James (profiled here in this item from yesterday) and Andres Nocioni. There is a competitive edge between the two, mostly driven by LeBron, who is not a huge fan of Nocioni, who has been a member of two Argentinian national teams that defeated prior versions of Team USA — once at the 2002 World Championship in Indianapolis, and once at the semifinals of the 2004 Olympics in Athens.
For another view of the inside of Paul Sant Jordi, click on the Twitpic below. There is a certain posture-challenged American reporter pictured speaking to Deron Williams.
— Àlex Gozalbo (@ARAAlexGozalbo) July 21, 2012