Team USA pounds Argentina, will play Spain for gold medal

Kevin Durant sails in for a high-percentage shot. The U.S. team will play Spain on Sunday in a rematch of the Olympic final four years ago in Beijing, which the Americans won, 118-107. LARS BARON / Getty Images
Kevin Durant sails in for a high-percentage shot. The U.S. team will play Spain on Sunday in a rematch of the Olympic final four years ago in Beijing, which the Americans won, 118-107. LARS BARON / Getty Images

Kevin Durant scored 19. Carmelo Anthony and LeBron James put up 18 each for the Americans.

Posted: August 11, 2012

LONDON - One more for the gold, and seemingly nothing that can prevent it.

This U.S. men's Olympic basketball team might not slow down until it's standing at the center of the medals platform again.

Kevin Durant scored 19 points, LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony added 18 apiece, and the U.S. team powered its way back to the gold-medal game by beating Argentina, 109-83, on Friday night.

"Anything less than this would have been unsatisfying for us," Anthony said. "We believe that we could get here, and we're here now. We got one game left."

The U.S. team will play Spain on Sunday in a rematch of their victory four years ago for the title in Beijing.

"I think it's only right," James said. "Everyone said that this is the game they wanted to see. We look forward to it. We're happy as a team we're able to be back in this position. We've got to defend, we've got to rebound, we've got to share the ball."

The Americans have said they feel their team is better than the '08 squad, and they are certainly more potent.

In the third straight Olympic semifinal between the U.S. team and Argentina, the Americans kept pulling ahead only to see the Argentines climb back in - until James and Durant finally put them away for good.

Manu Ginobili scored 18 for Argentina, which needs to beat Russia on Sunday in the bronze-medal game to reach the podium for the third straight Olympics.

Kobe Bryant scored 11 of his 13 points to get the U.S. team off to a quick start, but Argentina hung around until early in the second half, just as it did Monday in the final game of pool play.

"We had a great run in the first half," Ginobili said. "We started the third very well. And then we blinked."

And just like that night, the Americans hit them with a wave of dunks and three-pointers in the third quarter that turned it into a romp.

Ahead by only four after Ginobili opened the third quarter with a three-pointer, the Americans pulled away with James' strength and Durant's shot.

Durant made two threes in an 8-0 spurt that pushed the lead to 13, and when Argentina got back within eight, the NBA's MVP and runner-up teamed up to blow it open.

James had a basket and drove for a powerful dunk while being fouled. Durant followed with consecutive treys, and James tipped in a miss. Suddenly the lead was 19, 72-53, with 1 minute, 30 seconds left in the period.

It became a runaway in the fourth when Anthony hit three three-pointers in 42 seconds. The American bench spilled onto the floor as he strutted back to midcourt after the last one made it 93-64.

"Anybody on this team can get going at any point. That's the dangerous part of this team," Anthony said. "You never know who's going to get it going. Tonight, Kobe started it. Durant got it going, and I got hot, too."

The United States beat Spain, 118-107, in the Beijing final, pulling away after leading by just four with about 21/2 minutes left.

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