After a “slow” first half against Manu Ginobili and Argentina, Team USA simply placed their feet on the gas pedal to start the third quarter, or better yet beyond the three point line, and never ever looked back.
It was just a one point game at the end of the first half and at the end of the third, Team USA extended the one point lead to 26 points. According to NBC commentator and Philadelphia 76ers head coach, Doug Collins, Team USA took control of the game in the 3rd quarter on the defensive end of the floor which allowed them to have easier shots on the offensive end.
They pressured the ball very well and they certainly rotated effectively as Ginobili had great ball movement.
As the third quarter began, it was the King’s Court. LeBron James quickly got hot offensively and gave Team USA a little bit more cushion from the Argentines. But when LeBron was forced to sit down with 4 fouls, it became the Durant show. Team USA already had a somewhat solid lead on Argentina but Durant decided to extend it even further. Durant would hit three point shot after three point shot mainly within the right wing.
On one shot, Deron Williams passed the ball to Kevin Durant who was about a good 6 to 8 feet away from the Olympic 3-point line and easily drained a three point shot which excited the crowd and myself of course. From there, Team USA looked like they were playing with the Charlotte Bobcats. And to make matters even worse, Carmelo Anthony drained a three pointer to end the quarter.
With no sportsmanship in my opinion, the youngest player on Argentina’s roster hit Carmelo on the groin as he was going up for that three pointer which Carmelo obviously didn’t feel the need to retaliate as Team USA was already up 26 at the end of the 3rd.
The 4th quarter was pretty formal when it comes to a Team USA blowout. Argentina sent their starters to the bench and Team USA rested their stars allowing rookie Anthony Davis to take the court.
To make it simple, Team USA owned the second half. In the first half, Team USA played effectively but their defense was questionable as they allowed Argentina on easy baskets under the hoop and open three pointers. Team USA allowed Argentina to score 59 points through 20 minutes of play in the first half which is obviously not a good sign for the Americans.
Kevin Durant would end up finishing with 28 points, including an 8 for 10 shooting from three, and fellow forward starter LeBron James would finish with 18 points and 5 assists. Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love would help Team USA silently during their 3rd quarter as he got some tip in shots and also was solid on the boards. Love would finish with 13 points and 9 rebounds including 4 offensive rebounds. Kobe Bryant would go on to score 11 points and Chris Paul would finish with 17 points, 4 assists, and 4 rebounds. Philadelphia 76ers forward Andre Iguodala would finish with 13 points and 9 rebounds through 10 minutes of action only. Carmelo Anthony would only score 5 points.
As for Argentina, they had 6 players finish in double figures led by Manu Ginobili’s 16 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists. Fellow starting guard, Carlos Delfino finished with 13 points and forward Andres Nocioni had 12 points. Off the bench, Leonardo Gutierrez, who had a solid start in the game, finished with 11 points including three 3 pointers. Phoenix Suns forward Luis Scola finished with 11 points while off the bench big man Juan Gutierrez ended up with 12 points.
Argentina and USA are both going to enter the elimination round, which will tip off on August 8 (Wednesday). USA will be taking on Australia while Argentina will be taking on Brazil.