FINAL: USA 105, Argentina 78.
This was the dominant performance we’ve been waiting for from the Americans. Oddly enough, it might have happened because Carmelo Anthony had a bad game.
Anthony, the New York Knicks star and most veteran U.S. Olympian who has carried this team at points throughout the tournament, began the game 0 for 3, missing two open 3-pointers and then an alley-oop layup. He was pulled just 3:04 into the contest after picking up his second foul amid Argentina’s 19-7 run to start the game.
Then Kevin Durant took over.
The Golden State Warriors’ newest addition was lights out in the opening frame, hitting 4 of 5 shots and a perfect 3 of 3 from beyond the arc for 13 points. Something finally clicked for Durant, and there no longer was any confusion: The United States has its alpha dog. The rest was history.
Paul George, Jimmy Butler and Kyle Lowry and DeMarcus Cousins all subbed in fairly quickly, sparking a defensive run in which the Americans outscored Argentina 27-2 and took a commanding, double-digit lead. After one quarter, it was 25-21. Minutes later, it had stretched to 15.
When the dust settled, Durant led all scorers with 27 points, adding seven rebounds, seven assists and two steals, and the United States had cruised into the semifinals against Spain with a 27-point blowout.
:41.5 — Harrison Barnes hits a 3-pointer in garbage time. Forgot he was on the team for a second.
1:20 — DeMar DeRozan just stole a pass and finished with a 360 dunk. Coach K probably will bench him for the rest of the tournament.
1:30 — Manu Ginobili leaves to a huge ovation from the fans in his final game for the national team.
3:07 — USA 96, Argentina 71.
Brazilian police in full camo uniforms and assault vests have started lining up in front of Argentina fans in the bleachers because they’re still so loud and rowdy. It doesn’t seem like there’s any danger, but rather the police are more of a precaution.
It’s kind of a cool scene to see them so excited and passionate, though.
6:00 — Argentina is trailing by 28 points and their fans are acting like they’re up by 28. It’s very loud in Rio.
7:15 — Not much to report in the final quarter, besides DeMar DeRozan getting his first minutes of the game.
Looks like Draymond Green will get some extended time, too. USA will need him before all is said and done.
10:00 — We’re underway in the fourth.
End of third quarter: USA 87, Argentina 61
This one’s pretty much over. Durant has 27 points and Argentina is just out of gas.
1:34 — USA 83, Argentina 58.
Durant is 7 for 9 from beyond the arc (27 points), but the rest of his teammates are a combined 3 for 18. Klay Thompson clanked a corner trey off the side of the backboard a few minutes ago. Not a terrific shooting performance.
This is the biggest USA lead of the night, though.
4:00 — USA 76, Argentina 55.
The Americans have kept the pressure on and extended their lead in the third quarter. Durant is up to 24 points.
7:24 — Look out below. DeAndre Jordan just posterized the country of Argentina with a monstrous alley-oop dunk.
8:48 — Kevin Durant makes back-to-back 3-pointers (with a Ginobili trey in between). To say he’s on fire is an understatement.
Start: We’re underway in the third quarter. First half starters are on the court for both sides.
That lineup didn’t do all that well for the Americans, so stay tuned.
Halftime: USA 56, Argentina 40.
USA’s opponents go on an 11-2 run to end the half and bring the deficit under 20, but man did things change in this game.
Argentina came out firing and punched USA in the mouth en route to an early 19-7 lead. Facundo Campazzo looked like Kyrie Irving, Luis Scola looked like an All-Star, and suddenly Argentina had a chance.
Then USA remembered how to play terrifying defense, kicked things up a notch, and took over, thanks to a spark from its bench.
Kevin Durant seemed to remember he’s one of the three best basketball players on the planet, too, and scored 13 points in the first quarter and 18 in the half. After taking just 10 combined shots in USA’s previous two games, Durant has taken nine in the first half so far, making six of them, including four from beyond the arc.
Then there was this.
This is the Team USA we’ve been waiting to see. It’s about time.
Stay tuned for the second half.
2:40 — USA 54, Argentina 29.
Well, that turned around quickly. The Americans were losing 19-7, then went on a 27-2 run and have outscored Argentina 46-12 since.
Defense was a big part of it, as the U.S. finally showed what they can do. Jimmy Butler’s addition to the lineup off the bench sparked that run, while Paul George and Kyle Lowry have been excellent defensively as well.
6:07 — Obvious statement: Kyrie Irving is just filthy. He just made Campazzo look silly multiple times before hitting a pretty floater.
End the game. Kyrie just murdered that dude.
7:56 — As Doug Collins has pointed out on the NBC broadcast, Argentina really doesn’t have the depth or the length to keep up with Americans. Scola, who is 6-foot-8, started at center. That’s not going to get it done against Cousins.
8:30 — Another trey for Durant. Then Jimmy Butler gets in the lane and finishes an and-1 fast break layup. Suddenly it’s 36-21 USA.
9:02 — Paul George drains a corner 3-pointer, then Cousins works his way inside and bullies Luis Scola, the de facto Argentinian center, for two more points. His free throw makes it 30-21 USA.
10:00 — We’re underway in the second.
DeMarcus Cousins kicks things off with a monster block, his second of the game.
End of first quarter: USA 25, Argentina 21.
USA survives Argentina’s initial onslaught to escape the quarter with a lead. Kevin Durant leads all scorers with 13 points, while Facundo Campazzo (eight points) and Luis Scola (six) are the leaders for Argentina.
:40 — Kevin Durant makes another terrific pass, this time to Cousins on a back-door cut to the basket as the defense collapsed on Durant. Easy two.
1:27 — USA has its first lead of the game after DeMarcus Cousins muscles his way into the paint for a basket.
2:44 — Kevin Durant is on fire. He’s got 13 points in just over seven minutes, shooting 4 of 5 from the field and 3 for 3 from beyond the arc. He’s looking like the alpha dog tonight. The Americans have needed this for a while.
3:04 — George finally forces a USA turnover and finishes the fast break with a dunk, leading to a timeout for Argentina.
It’s a 7-0 run for the Americans to cut the deficit to 19-16.
Manu Ginobili just slammed his towel in the team huddle. Make no mistake: This is Game 7 for the Argentinians, and they’ve played like it so far.
3:54 — It’s 19-8 Argentina. Everything that could possibly go right for Argentina has so far.
4:40 — Paul George scores the first non-Durant bucket.
5:24 — Coach K takes a much-needed timeout.
Kevin Durant has all seven points for the Americans, which is a good sign. Carmelo Anthony has missed two 3-pointers and an alley-oop, which is a bad sign.
5:56 — This basically is a home game for Argentina, which isn’t very far from Brazil. With the hosts eliminated, they became the de facto home team anyway, and the crowd is loud and rowdy in reflecting that.
It’s 14-7 Argentina. DeAndre Jordan was inserted into the starting lineup for defensive purposes, yet Argentina has seven baskets in the paint. Yikes.
8:42 — The Argentinians are not afraid of the Americans at all.
Luis Scola and Patricio Campazzo both have two inside buckets and Argentina leads 8-5.
9:40 — We’re underway, and Kevin Durant gets a quick shot in the lane but is fouled. He sinks both free throws, and USA has an early 2-0 lead.
There are more than a few familiar names on Argentina’s roster.
Most notable, of course, is Manu Ginobili, who has won four NBA championships with the San Antonio Spurs since 2003. The 39-year-old is one of Argentina’s leading scorers, averaging 15.2 points in 26 minutes per game. Andres Nocioni had his best NBA years with the Chicago Bulls from 2004-2009, and hasn’t been in the NBA since 2012. But the 6-foot-8 sharpshooting big man is the perfect stretch four in the international game.
Other notables include 25-year-old point guard Facundo Campazzo, who leads the team in scoring (16.4 ppg), veteran NBA forward Luis Scola, and veteran NBA guard Carlos Delfino.
Here are tonight’s starting lineups.
Facundo Campazzo, PG
Manu Ginobili, SG
Patricio Garino, SF
Andres Nocioni, PF
Luis Scola, C
Kyrie Irving, PG
Klay Thompson, SG
Kevin Durant, SF
Carmelo Anthony, PF
DeAndre Jordan, C
USA vs. Argentina preview:
Boy, do the Americans have some work to do.
Hello and welcome into NESN.com’s coverage of Team USA basketball’s Olympic quarterfinal game against Argentina.
These two clubs have a bit of history, as the Argentinians were the ones who knocked the Americans out of the 2004 gold medal game. The U.S. is hoping to avoid some revisionist history after back-to-back three-point victories over the likes of Serbia and France — two countries who arguably had no business hanging with the team of superstars Coach Mike Krzyzewski has assembled.
We’ll have you covered with scoring updates, highlights and analysis throughout the night, as the Americans look to advance to the semifinals.
Thumbnail photo via Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports Images