Argentina had no business beating Brazil in the Olympics on Saturday. They shouldn't have forced overtime, or the second overtime. And yet, they somehow pulled off a 111-107 victory over the host country.
With the exception of the brilliant start that Argentina had to the game in the first quarter to take the Brazilian crowd out of it, they struggled. Some solid shooting kept Brazil from putting the game away, but the old Argentinians, the "Golden Generation" that won gold in 2004, looked like they were on their last legs, futilely trying to outrun Father Time.
But somewhere in themselves they dug deep and just refused to go away, making key runs just good enough to stay in the game, but not good enough to tie or take the lead.
In the final minute, they had one last shot, and it was Andres Nocioni who stepped up for the most dramatic three-pointer of the game. The shot seemed to bounce around for what felt like an eternity before dropping through the net.
The game hadn't been tied since it was 10-10. Brazil had led since the 5:18 mark of the 2nd quarter. And yet, there they were, going to overtime.
Once again, though, it felt like Argentina had only delayed the inevitable in pushing the contest further. Brazil took a six-point lead early. Argentina fought back and Manu Ginobili actually had a shot to win the game at the end of the first extra period, but missed.
Things were very different in the second overtime, though. Argentina jumped out to an eight-point lead right away. Facundo Campazzo hit back-to-back threes, part of his incredible 33 points and 11 assists to take over the game.
Brazil's turn to generate some magic came from Leandro Barbosa. The NBA mainstay and championship sub from the Golden State Warriors had been sitting on the bench most of the game. As the only player with fresh legs in the second OT, he scored at will, pulling Brazil within one point of Argentina, scoring nine of his 11 points in a span of less than two minutes.
Argentina was the team of destiny on Saturday, though. Up by two with seconds left, Carlos Delfino went to the line to ice the game. He missed both free throws, but Manu Ginobili somehow grabbed the offensive rebound and proceeded to make both shots on a trip to the line for the first time all game.
The victory was sealed and the Argentinians celebrated their emotional win.
Manu finished with 13 points on a miserable shooting night. Luis Scola, who carried the team defensively but fouled out late, finished with a double-double: 14 points and 10 rebounds. Nocioni was on fire throughout the game and poured in 37 points, including 8-12 from three-point land and that unbelievable game-tying shot.
With the victory, Argentina clinched a spot in the knockout stage and could possibly play to win or lose in their final game against Spain as they would prefer to play on the opposite side of the bracket as Team USA.
However this run ends for the Golden Generation's final Olympics, they at least got one more magical night together.