Nicolas Brussino, Argentina Dominate Nigeria in Rio
Argentina and Nicolas Brussino had no trouble dispatching the Nigerians Sunday night, cruising to a 98-64 win in their third match in Rio.
While the Argentines pose no threat to the United States for the gold medal, they still boast six players who have either played in the NBA or are currently under contract with an NBA team.
Former Bulls, Kings, and Sixers swingman Andres Nocioni provides Argentina with a steady hand on the perimeter who can knock down an open jumper and plays stout defense. Carlos Delfino, another NBA veteran who played for the Pistons, Kings, Bucks and Rockets shares the backcourt with longtime NBA star Manu Ginobili, who resigned with the Spurs this offseason after nearly signing with the Sixers.
Pablo Prigioni has spent time in the NBA with the Knicks, Rockets and Clippers. Luis Scola, another ageless NBA veteran is still causing havoc in the paint, and so far in these olympics has shown a great two-man game with one of three Mavericks playing in Rio, Nicolas Brussino.
The newest small forward for the Mavs plays an important role for the Argentines who have needed a young scorer to relieve the enormous pressure on Ginobili, Nocioni, and Scola. While Scola and Ginobili led the way with 18 and 12 point games against the Nigerians, Brussino did not effectively play his role. With just two points on only two shot attempts, Brussino was barely visible on the court while frequently being guarded by defensive stalwart and former Maverick Al Farouq Aminu.
The Nigerians, who boast three current or former NBA players, Al-Farouq Aminu, Josh Akognon, and Ike Diogu kept the contest close in the first quarter against the Argentines, trailing by seven after a quarter. But Nocioni and Scola had big second quarters to stretch the lead out to nineteen at the half.
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Brussino barely played in the second half, and had just five minutes of playing time overall. Argentina faced a staunch Nigerian defense led by Aminu and only put up 22 points in the third period, but surrendered an impressive 19 to Nigeria. Nigeria’s leading scorer for the evening, Ike Diogu was unable to keep Nigeria close in the fourth quarter as the Argentines pulled away and stretched the final margin out to 28.
See full box score here.
The Mavs are hoping that Brussino can show an effective shooting touch while also raising his stock by helping the Argentines on the glass, on the defensive perimeter and on the fast break.
It will be a very tall order for Brussino to make the Mavs roster, but the Mavs hope that they may have found a hidden gem in one of their three olympians.