Facing Argentina for the third time in 17 days, Team USA once again proved to be victorious.
Down 47-40 at halftime, Argentina opened the second half with a three-pointer by Manu Ginobili to get to within four points, but Team USA wouldn’t let Argentina get any closer for the rest of the game. Team USA went on an 8-0 run created by two Kevin Durant three-pointers and a Chris Paul jump shot to give the Americans a 59-46 lead and forced Argentina to call timeout with 6:28 left in the third quarter.
The teams traded baskets for the rest of third quarter and Team USA held a 74-57 lead heading into the fourth quarter. Durant had 12 points in the third quarter, making four of his seven three-pointers attempted.
Team USA carried the momentum into the fourth quarter with a 19-7 run to extend the lead to 93-64 with 6:33 left in the game. Carmelo Anthony made four three-pointers during that span including three three-pointers within 42 seconds.
Argentina called a timeout following Anthony’s fourth three-pointer and responded with an 8-0 run of their own, but the teams exchanged scores for the rest of the game with Team USA defeating Argentina 109-83.
Five Americans reached double digits as Durant led with 19 points while Anthony and Lebron James each had 18, Kobe Bryant had 13 and Paul had 10. Ginobili led Argentina with 18 points while Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino had 15 points.
“You have three scorers on this team who get blistering hot if they make two shots in a row,” said Bryant. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Team USA shot 53.1-percent on field goals, making 18 of 42 three-pointers while winning rebounds 40-23, assists 25-21, steals 5-2 and blocks 5-1. Argentina shot 44.3-percent on field goals, making 11 of 26 three-pointers while winning turnovers 9-10.
The gold-medal game between Team USA and Spain will be on Sunday August 12 at 10 a.m. ET on NBC. Team USA and Spain met in the gold-medal game in the Beijing Olympics with Team USA winning that contest 118-107 after leading by just four with about 2½ minutes left.
“They’ve got to play almost a perfect game and they’ve got to force them to play 5-on-5 and not let them run,” said Ginobili. “But yeah, they can be beat. It’s not easy. The odds are not with Spain, but of course if you play your best game and they’re not very inspired, you’ve got a shot.”