In front of a chanting, flag-waving crowd of Argentines who came to throw a raucous farewell party for their Golden Generation, the Americans delivered their most complete performance in Rio.
As Argentina jumped out to a 10-point lead just past the midway point of the first quarter, it appeared that they may have one more medal run left in the tank.
“That was our whole thought process: that they were going to be a tough team, we can’t look at them lightly”, DeRozan said.
The Americans had gone on a 27-2 run, and it was Argentina back on its heels, allowing Team USA to shoot 62.9 percent following a 3-for-13 start, and going into the locker room with the US up 56-40 at the end of the half. It was a wake up call for us The United States is now two wins away from a third straight gold medal and fifth in the last six Olympics. Australia meets Serbia in the other semifinal.
RIO DE JANEIRO-The United States and Spain finally lived up to expectations, posting blowout wins on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the Olympic men’s basketball tournament as France and Argentina lost much more than a game.
The answer might be nothing.
For a moment, at least, it looked that way when Argentina led early in their knockout round game with the US.
“This is another challenging team, so we have got to come in right”, George said about Spain.
Wednesday’s loss eliminates Argentina from the medal round and likely means the end of Ginobili’s brilliant worldwide career, which includes an Olympic gold and a FIBA World Championship title.
Ginobili played his last game in Olympic competition with Argentina after four Olympics. The X’s and O’s were good, but we played with passion and energy.
“People keep talking about the end of a generation”, the 36-year-old Scola said. “I was telling myself in the room today, I’m at my best when I don’t care if we win or lose. They spared some very kind words and I truly appreciate it”.
With NBA commissioner Adam Silver in the stands, the top-ranked Americans showed they are way too much for fourth-ranked Argentina to handle.
Perhaps a main reason for the tournament-low spread, the USA fell behind 19-9 with four minutes left in the opening quarter until timely buckets from Durant, George, and guard Klay Thompson swung the momentum and led to a 16-2 run and four-point lead after the first period.
Kevin Durant leads the USA squad with 18.5 points and adds 4.8 rebounds and 3.8 assists a game. George dropped 17 points off the bench and DeMarcus Cousins notched 15 for USA. Four years ago, it was 107-100.
Durant makes his teammates leave their seats with killer crossover and Euro step.
They found their dominant spirit against a quality opponent, for the first time here in Rio. Argentina fans danced, cheered and completely ignored the crooked numbers on the scoreboard while saying one long goodbye.
But once play began, the USA rarely played up to those expectations, with one narrow victory after another as the competition toughened.
While they were meandering through a 10-point win over Australia and three-point victories over Serbia and France (their narrowest margins of Olympic victory since 2004), this was, in fact, their playoffs. In the final minutes, the blue-and-white clad fans poured into one end of Carioca Arena, where they shouted and danced side to side. “The physical part was against us”, says Nocioni.
Durant shone but his teammates shot 3-of-12 from the floor and were outplayed before a timeout.
The United States overcame a slow start and handled Argentina in the quarterfinals with an overwhelming 105-78 victory.