Parker, Ginobili Battle For The First Time; Team USA Breaks Tunisia

Ninety-nine times out of 100, any day Team USA plays during the Olympics is a day Team USA owns the global basketball spotlight. But thanks to France and Argentina, yesterday was that one other time. Their matchup marked the first time Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili had ever played against each other, and if that’s the kind of game we’re going to get whenever they’re opponents, we wouldn’t mind TP or Manu getting traded before the NBA season starts … In the pound-for-pound best game of the London Games so far, Parker led France to a 71-64 upset with a gutsy fourth-quarter performance that he put together after not being able to buy a bucket all day. It was a two-point game with five minutes left before Parker (17 pts, 5 asts, 4-17 FG) took over. He hit a pull-up jumper, then drove past Luis Scola for a tough layup, then added two free throws to extend the lead to eight … But Manu (26 pts) answered with a three, then Ronny Turiaf and Boris Diaw fouled out within seconds of each other. Suddenly it was a two-possession game with under two minutes to go, and France looked vulnerable So Parker took matters into his own hands again, getting a steal and finding Kevin Seraphin on an alley-oop, effectively shutting the door on Argentina right there … After being smothered against Team USA two days prior, this was the Tony Parker who deserved MVP votes last season, the guy who was the best player on one of the four best teams in the league. Parker was so good in crunch time that he might make the nose Band-Aid and Orlando Woolridge goggles this summer’s hottest playground accessories … Scola finished with 16 points and eight boards, and picked up a new nickname: “The Irritant.” That’s actually perfect for him … Where else could you see 10 NBA players on the court at the same time, and not only is Ronny Turiaf starting, but he also has the green light to take a reverse layup during an important stretch of the fourth quarter? If Turiaf had tried something like that with the Heat, he’d be sitting next to Eddy Curry before he realized he’d bricked the layup … Team USA, meanwhile, was expected to take a Curry-sized dump on Tunisia in their second Olympic game. So considering that the pre-game spread was something like 113 points, it was surprising that LeBron and Co. were “only” up 13 at halftime. But the talent disparity eventually proved too much, and once Tunisia stopped hitting as many of those WTF shots (off-balance pull-ups, threes on the run, rainmaking J’s all over the place), it was over. Team USA won, 110-63 … LeBron and Andre Iguodala had the two signature highlights: LeBron with a statuesque tomahawk dunk on the break, and Iguodala with a Stretch Armstrong putback cram that got everybody off the bench. Anthony Davis (12 pts) had a handful of dunks, too. In fact, every shot he made was either an alley-oop finish or a tip dunk … Tunisia’s Mohamed Hdidane took off his shoe right after the buzzer and got Kobe to autograph it for him. Tyson Chandler was the next guy to walk up to Hdidane, but he wasn’t asked for an autograph. Don’t feel too bad, Tyson; that’s like being the guy who performs after 2Pac‘s hologram. Nothing personal … Other Olympic stat lines: Tiago Splitter scored 21 points in Brazil’s win over Great Britain; Darius Songaila‘s 12 points led a balance Lithuania in its win over Nigeria; Andrei Kirilenko had 16 points, nine boards and four steals as Russia routed China; and Pau Gasol scored 20 points to lead Spain past Australia … Over in the land of NBA role players, Nate Robinson inked a one-year deal with the Bulls. Chicago is stockpiling guards — Nate Rob, Marquis Teague, Kirk Hinrich — in an effort to stay afloat while Derrick Rose recovers from knee surgery. There’s even talk that the Bulls are interested in Tracy McGrady. Are they getting the right guards, though? What do you think of the Bulls’ makeshift backcourt right now? … The Lakers reportedly have a pending offer for C.J. Miles, who is considering whether he wants to play in L.A. for a title contender or — wait, what are his other options? Why is this a debate? Sign the deal, C.J., before they realize you might be nothing more than a poor man’s Kareem Rush! … Dennis Rodman has written a children’s book. It’s called Dennis The Wild Bull. If you told us Dennis The Wild Bull is also the name Dennis have given to his unit, we wouldn’t doubt it for a second … We’re out like signing stinky shoes …

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