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Argentina ends up with bronze in men's basketball
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Argentina wins over Lithuania to grab a bronze in the men's basketball competition. [Xinhua]

Carlos Delfino played his best all-round game, scoring 20 points and grabbing 10 rebounds, to lead Argentina to an 87-75 win over Lithuania to win the bronze medal of the men's basketball competitions at the Beijing Olympic Games on Sunday.

Argentina's pivot Manu Ginobili didn't play due to left-ankle injury sustained in the semi-finals against the United States, and the whole team wanted to contribute the victory to the San Antonio Spurs guard.

"I think (the injury of Manu) inspired us. We wanted to win the game for him. Manu worked really hard to help us onto this stage, and he wanted to play if he could. We had a different attituded into the game, compared to those in the debut," Argentina's coach Sergio Hernandez said.

The defending champions lost 79-75 in the first game of the preliminary round to Lithuania.

"It's an amazing game. My teammates performed so well that I'm so pround of them," Ginobili said. "I would have played if my injury is not that bad."

Luis Scola had 16 points and Andres Nucioni added 14 points, eight rebounds and four steals for Argentina.

Lithuania were led by Ramunas Siskauskas' 15 points and six rebounds play, while Rimantas Kaukenas chipped in 14 points.

The first quarter was quite an even matchup. Alfredo Quinteros buried three and Leonardo Gutierrez two when Argentina drilled in six 3-pointers to lead 46-34 in the second quarter.

Nucioni stole twice and Pablo Prigioni once to storm to three consecutive fastbreaks, which ended with a 68-44 lead in favor of Argentina with 1:38 minutes left in the third quarter.

Kaukenas' layup cut the lead off to 71-59 before Prigioni and Delfino eased Argentines' nerves with two baskets in row.

Ksistof Lavrinovic produced another chance for Lithuania's comeback as he made a tough jumper and forced the fifth foul from Scola, closing it on 75-64 with 5:07 minutes to go.

Lithuania then missed a couple of 3-pointer attempts while Delfino buried another long-ranged one on the other end with 3:38 minutes left on the clock on 78-64. The match was virtually ended after that.

(Xinhua News Agency August 24, 2008)

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