Kobe Bryant silenced his critics and broke open a tight game with six 3-pointers in the second half Wednesday night as the Americans advanced to the semifinals of the London Games with a 119-86 victory over Australia.
The five-time NBA champion who has been quiet for most of the Olympic games, came in averaging just 9.4 points, shooting 35 percent (14 for 40) with 47 points, erupted with 20 points in the second half and hitting 6 out of 10 from the three-point line after starting the first half going 0 for 4 with 2 turnovers.
“I was just kind of searching for something to get me going, searching for something to kind of activate the Black Mamba,” Kobe said.
LeBron James had a triple double, finishing with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for the Americans and surpassed Charles Barkley as Team USA’s third all-time scorer (236 points) behind Michael Jordan (256) and David Robinson (280).
America now advances to their third straight Olympic semifinal meeting with Argentina, which beat Brazil earlier Wednesday. Team USA beat the Argentines 126-97 on Monday in what was the final game of pool play.
Patty Mills scored 26 points and Ingles had 19 for Australia, which had the misfortune of running into the U.S. in the quarterfinals for the second straight Olympics.
In the other semifinals, Russia will play Spain.