Unlike most of the basketball teams that competed for the gold medal in the 2012 London Olympics, scoring for Team USA is pretty easy. This is the third straight game that USA by passed the century mark while other teams have only been able to score within 60-80 points facing one another. Final score: USA 109 Argentina 83. Classic Team USA blowout if I must say.
To start the first quarter, Argentina’s forward Luis Scola would make two jump shots in a row to show that Argentina was here to play. Unfortunately, that was pretty much the only highlights I could think of for Argentina especially because most of the highlights came from Team USA today. Argentina would only hold a lead for a total of 48 seconds throughout the game. Their last lead came in at the 9:03 mark in the first quarter and from there, the Americans took control as usual. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant would get off to a hot start with a dunk shot and three 3 pointers in the first quarter. Bryant led the way in scoring for Team USA in the previous game and it looked as if he was still playing Australia today with his hot shooting from the get go.
USA would quickly burst out of the gates as they built a 15-4 lead over Argentina. However, Team USA started missing jump shots and the game started to shift into Argentina’s favor. Argentina would close the gap to within just 2 points (19-17) after two free throws by big man Juan Gutierrez but Team USA would close out the quarter with a layup and a three pointer. Pretty common right? In the following quarter Argentina would manage to still keep the game close and were still very much in striking distance from taking the lead from the Americans. NBA free agent, Carlos Delfino of Argentina would begin to heat up from distance making three 3 pointers in the quarter. However, Team USA would easily respond to the challenge. Shockingly, they didn’t respond by making three pointers.
In the second quarter, Team USA had 0 three pointers made but only attempted 5 distance shots as they continually attacked the basket. It was pretty easy of course for Team USA to attack as Argentina didn’t really stand a chance going up against the likes of LeBron James and Kevin Durant slashing into the paint. Minnesota Timberwolves forward Kevin Love also asserted his presence inside the paint that quarter as he scored 6 points. Layup after layup, dunk after dunk, midrange jump shot after midrange jump shot Team USA was only up 7 points at the end of the half as the NBA players on Argentina kept the game tight and prevented Team USA from blasting off with the lead.
The second half would be very much different. Team USA started taking and making three pointers and Argentina just simply became the audience of the act Team USA did in the third. Oklahoma City Thunder Kevin Durant, who put on a shooting display the last time these two teams faced off in the Olympics, made four 3 pointers in the third quarter alone. And no, Durant didn’t shoot and make a three pointer all the way from Wales much like the previous game they played one another. However, in the fourth quarter, with Team USA already up 20+ points, New York Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony, who came off the bench for USA, started getting hot and tried to outdo Durant’s shooting. Anthony would make three triples in a row including one that was pretty far as well much like Durant’s bombs-away shot a few days ago which still impresses me.
The fourth quarter was pretty formal as the United States continued their hot shooting from distance and inside dominance. One highlight play came from three USA players when LeBron James was on the baseline and bounced pass the ball to Chris Paul who ended up lobbing the ball up to center Tyson Chandler who got fouled but hammered the ball in the hoop. Aah, Team USA, what more can you ask from them. A three pointer there, a slam dunk there, a simple jump shot there, a lay-up there, highlights there, and a win at the end. Near-perfect basketball I might say.
USA would have 5 players finish in double figures with Kevin Durant leading the way with 19 points including 5 three pointers. LeBron James, who recorded a triple double the last game, recorded 18 points, 7 assists, and 7 rebounds. The Black Mamba, Kobe Bryant, who is more than happy to know that center Dwight Howard will be joining him in Hollywood, chipped in with 13 points. Point guard Chris Paul would end up with 10 points and dish out 7 assists. Off the bench, Carmelo Anthony would finish with 18 points including 4 treys. Kevin Love would finish 1 point and 1 rebound shy of a double double. Team USA dominated the boards in this game by out rebounding Argentina 40-23.
For Argentina, San Antonio Spurs guard Manu Ginobili led the way with 18 points including 3 triples and forwards Carlos Delfino and Luis Scola would both finish with 15 points each. Point guard Pablo Prigioni, who will be joining Carmelo Anthony and the New York Knicks this upcoming NBA season, had 0 points and 6 assists.
With Argentina eliminated from gold medal contention, Argentina will be taking on Russia for the bronze on Sunday at 5:00 AM CT. On a higher note, Team USA will be taking on Spain once again in the gold medal round on Sunday at 11:00 AM CT. Both games will be shown on NBC.