With a chance for a berth in the 2012 Olympics Gold Medal game of Men’s Basketball on the line, Team USA looked to continue its quest for gold against one of its biggest Olympic rivals over the years in Argentina, who was lead by NBA players LUis Scola, Manu Ginobli, Andrés Nocioni, and Carlos Delfino.
Team USA came out focused and locked in on burying Argentina early, jumping out to a 18-6 lead behind intense defense and their continued hot shooting from three-point land, hitting four of their first five attempts. Kobe Bryant carried the early scoring load, notching 11 of TeamUSA’s first 18 points.
It looked like the Americans may run away with the game early on, but Argentina began to find their offense as they penetrating the lane more and kicking out to open shooters while switching to a zone defense to cut the lead to 24-19 at the end of the first-quarter.
In the second-quarter, LeBron James and Kevin Love began asserting themselves, scoring a combined 12-straight points inside the paint to extend the lead to 36-27. 11 straight points by Carlos Delfino kept Argentina within striking distance, and a three-pointer at the halftime-buzzer by Ginobli left Team USA clinging to an seven-point lead at the half. Kobe Bryant’s 13 first-half points kept Team USA ahead, but they knew it would take more to finish offArgentinain crunch time
The third-quarter began with both teams stalling on offense, as the two sides combined for just seven points through the first two minutes. A Ginboli And-1 pulled Argentina to within five, but a Kevin Durant three-pointer and Chris Paul running-layup pushed the lead back out to 10 at 56-46. Off a missed three, LeBron skied over three Argentineans and found a wide open Durant for three as he increased theUSAlead to 13. Argentina kept it close as Ginboli went on a stretch in which he scored 8 of Argentina’s 11 points, bu t a thunderous LeBron James And-1 followed by Durnat back-to-back three-pointers pushed the lead out to 16. Durant finished the quarter with 12 point on four made threes and Team USA entered the fourth-quarter leading 74-57.
Team USA would control the fourth-quarter as Argentina ran out of gas and could keep up with Team USA’s youth and intense defense. Three-straight Carmelo Anthony three-pointers sealed the deal with 6:29 left and score nodded at 93-64 in favor of the boys in the red, white, and blue.
Kevin Durant led team USA with 19 points and was 5/10 from three-point range.
Carmelo Anthony finished the day with 18 points in 17 minutes and is scoring 42.1 points per 40 minutes this Olympics.
LeBron James also tossed in 18 points on 8/12 shooting, along with seven rebounds and seven assists.
With a little over 3:00 minutes remaining, Anthony Davis entered the game and notched one rebound. If Davis and Team USa can claim gold Sunday, he’ll be the youngest to ever do so for Team USA basketball
Sunday’s Gold Medal game against Spain will be at 10 AM on NBC. Be there.