Basketball: Argentina have 5-10 per cent shot at beating U.S. - Ginobili
LONDON (Reuters) - Argentina must play a perfect game against the latest United States' Dream Team to reach Sunday's final of the Olympic tournament and even then it may not be enough, Argentina's coach and team leader said on Wednesday.
"The odds are against us. We have a 10 percent or even a five percent chance of winning but we are going to fight for this," San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said after driving his team past Brazil and into the semi-finals.
Argentina pressed a U.S. team packed with top talent from the National Basketball Association (NBA) deep into the third quarter in the group stages on Monday.
It took an avalanche of long-distance buckets from three-time NBA scoring champion Kevin Durant to relieve the pressure on the Americans and turn a one-point game at half time into a 126-97 win.
"We'll take the same approach," Ginobili said.
"We are going to try and turn the ball over less. Make a few shots in the second half and don't let them run. Then if they get inspired and LeBron (James) or Kobe Bryant or someone get hot and hit 20 threes like they did in the last game, then there's nothing you can do."
U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said after Monday's game that Argentina were capable of beating his team, noting his opponents in Friday's semi would be strengthened by the return of starting point guard Pablo Prigioni.
"What I've learned at here is that there are a lot of very good teams," Krzyzewski said. "We played well enough tonight to beat a very good team without their starting guard. (But) We are capable of losing here. That team (Argentina) is capable of beating us."
Aside from the first half against Argentina and a 99-94 win over Lithuania that was close well down the stretch, the U.S. have breezed through the tournament, always able to turn it on when opponents got within striking distance.
It remains to be seen if anyone can get closer, with the other semi-final featuring a talented Spanish side who have struggled to click on offence and a Russia team led by big men Timofey Mozgov and Andrei Kirilenko.
"If you play five minutes badly, they can kill you, they'll score 20 points," Argentina coach Julio Lamas said on Wednesday.
"We need to play the perfect game, for 40 minutes."
(additional reporting by William James)
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