KD's third-quarter assault carries U.S.

Andre Iguodala prepares to dunk as Argentina's Andres Nocioni looks on.
Andre Iguodala prepares to dunk as Argentina's Andres Nocioni looks on. (CHRISTIAN PETERSEN / GETTY IMAGES)
Posted: August 07, 2012

LONDON - Kevin Durant shot the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team out of trouble, and right into the top seed in their group.

Durant scored 17 of his 28 points during the Americans' explosive 42-point third quarter, turning a one-point game into a blowout that sent the U.S. soaring into the quarterfinals with a 126-97 victory over Argentina on Monday night.

Durant matched the Argentines' point total in the period, going 5-for-6 from three-point range, the last one from well beyond 25 feet. The Americans didn't stop shooting and scoring until Carmelo Anthony made a three-pointer in the final second of the quarter while taking what he and the U.S. bench right behind him felt was a cheap shot from Argentina's Facundo Campazzo, setting off an exchange of words and technical fouls.

"You kind of want to send a message a little bit," Kobe Bryant said. "This was the second game in a row that a team has played us close. We didn't want to give them confidence."

The Americans (5-0) will play Australia (3-2) in a quarterfinal game Wednesday.

LeBron James scored 18 points, getting the Americans' first seven of the third quarter before Durant took over.

The Sixers' Andre Iguodala played 20 minutes and scored 13 points. After assisting on Durant's three with 3 seconds left in the first quarter, giving the U.S. a 34-32 lead, Iguodala scored six points in the second. Two of those points came on a thunderous dunk, which Iguodala threw down with such force that it hit his chest and ricocheted back up through the basket so quickly that it was unclear if it went in at all. The PA announcer and scoreboard operator counted it, but Argentina simply pushed the ball up the other way as if the shot had missed. Replays showed it clearly went all the way down, making it 45-39.

Argentina (3-2) shot 56 percent in the first half and the U.S. led just 60-59. Minutes later, it was effectively over. Durant's three after James' surge gave the U.S. 10 points in 2 minutes, 10 seconds of the second half, and he made back-to-back threes midway through the period to make it 85-68.

The Americans have 2 days to work on it before facing the Australians (3-2), who pulled a surprise earlier Monday, handing Group B champion Russia its first loss, 82-80, on Patty Mills' three-pointer as time expired.

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