SENDAI (FIBA World Championship) - Argentina became the first team to maintain a perfect record (2-0) so far in the group stages of the FIBA World Championship when they easily defeated Lebanon 107-72.
The Olympic champions, much like they did in the first game, came out and played flawless basketball in the first quarter, using a 10-0 run to turn a 7-7 tie into a 17-7 advantage.
However, unlike last night, they were able to maintain a high level of play going the rest of the way even though none of their starters played more than 20 minutes.
Walter Herrmann came off the bench to score a team-high 23 points, including six out of eight from three-point range.
Luis Scola added 18 points in 17 minutes of play and Carlos Defilno chipped in with 14.
Lebanon did not play particularly badly but were always going to have a very tough task in trying to contain Sergio Hernandez's men.
The score was tied at 7-7 early on but Argentina then went on a 10-0 run and Lebanon never recovered.
Sergio Hernandez's men played their usual unselfish brand of basketball and after just six minutes all five starters had scored. By the end of the game, all 12 players were on the score sheet.
Scola and Manu Ginobili were the main protagonists early on. The former capped the 10-0 run with a hook shot while the latter thrilled the crowds with a fast break dunk and a coast to coast lay up.
The fans got more to cheer on when Ginobili's replacement, Delfino, went in for a reverse dunk early in the second quarter.
Lebanon improved in the second quarter behind the play of Rony Fahed and Fadi El Khatib, but the South American nation did not let their guard down and kept a considerable double-digit lead, 50-32, at the break.
Argentina used a 12-0 run midway through the third quarter to take a 67-35 lead. With the game now almost certainly out of Lebanon's reach, Hernandez was able to rest his star players Ginobili, Scola, Nocioni and Oberto.
And in their absence the substitutes showed they could maintain the lead and even extend it considerably as they went up by 40, 96-56 on Herrmann's sixth and final three-pointer of the day.
The forward had made three three-pointers in the space of two minutes earlier in the fourth quarter.
After the game, Hernandez said he was very pleased with the events of the last two days.
"I'm proud of my guys because they did very well yesterday against a very big European power like France and they didn't let their guard down today against what looks like a lesser opponent."
"We played at 100 per cent for the full 40 minutes today and I can't ask for better than that. But credit to Lebanon, despite being down by 20 or 30 points, they never stopped playing hard."
Lebanon's head coach Paul Coughter could not make any excuses for his team's display but was the first to concede the great quality Argentina has.
"The beautiful thing about how Argentina play is that they really are 100 per cent unselfish. That's the biggest compliment I can pay them."
By Simon Wilkinson