U.S. Hits Argentina With The 1-2 Punch

LONDON – Lithuanian coach Kestutis Kemzura searched for the words to describe it late Saturday night, after watching his team flirt with the notion of upsetting the U.S. Men’s Senior National Team in Olympic play for as long as humanly possible.

“You have to pick your poison,” he said of playing the U.S., “and then decide what you want to die from.”

That’s one extremely grim way of looking at it. A view that Argentina can share after being blown off the court by the U.S. in the third quarter of what turned into a 126-97 rout Monday night at the Olympic Basketball Arena.

Between LeBron James bullying his way around the floor for seven quick points in the first three minutes of the third quarter and Kevin Durant‘s 17-point barrage that followed, the point was made. The U.S. heads into Wednesday’s quarterfinal against Australia having made it clear that they’ll only go along with the opposition’s plan for so long.

Packing the paint and hoping they take and miss enough 3-point shots so you can stay close was easier to do when Durant — the 6-foot-10 reigning three-time NBA scoring champion shooting from two feet closer than the NBA 3-point line — wasn’t around to mess up those plans.

“Almost everybody has tried to play them the same way, there aren’t a lot of secrets, that’s the same way everybody has tried to play them the last decade,” said Argentina and San Antonio Spurs star Manu Ginobili. “But when this happens and they make 20 [3-pointers], then you shake their hands, say ‘good game’ and go back and get ready for the next game. It’s not that complicated.”

For the second straight game, the U.S. showed that even the best and most detailed plan cannot account for the sheer forces of nature they can throw at teams when they get rolling. One by one in pool play, the opposition felt it. France lost by 27 points in the opener, Tunisia by 47 the next time and Nigeria by a jaw-dropping (and record-setting) 83 points in the third game.

Lithuania’s 99-94 defeat in the fourth game was a glimmer of hope for Argentina, the latest victim here Monday night. The Lithuanians executed their game plan to perfection and the U.S. missed just enough 3-pointers (and fell asleep just enough on defense) to negate their advantages in every other area. That is until James got cooking late and put away Lithuania almost by himself.

Argentina did the same Monday night, carving up the U.S. defense in the first half and putting a big enough scare into them after 20 minutes that the U.S.’s 60-59 lead was of little consequence. Ten minutes and a 42-point barrage later, though, it was over.

James scored seven quick points and turned the defensive intensity up. Meanwhile, Durant drained a corner 3-pointer … and another one … and before you knew it, the bench was rising in unison every time he raised his hands to shoot the ball. With 1:51 to play in the quarter and the U.S. choking Argentina out, Durant took a pass near half court, turned to face the basket and let it fly from two (Durant-sized) steps from the London Olympics logo in the middle of the floor.

The crowd of 9,605, which included former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice and rapper Ludacris (who was wrapped up in an American flag), went berserk. By the time the run ended, with a Carmelo Anthony 3-pointer at the third quarter buzzer and a 102-76 U.S. lead (it also ended with Anthony doubled over on the floor after taking a shot to the groin from Argentina point guard Facundo Campazzo), the damage was done.

Still, the U.S. players weren’t pleased with Campazzo’s lick and they let it be known after the game. (Technical fouls were assessed on both sides, and players from both teams had to be separated as Anthony was helped to his feet.)

“There’s no place for those kinds of plays in the game of basketball,” said James, who finished his night with 18 points, five assists and three rebounds. “As teammates, we have to protect Carmelo and we’re glad he’s okay.”

Anthony got loose against Nigeria, draining a record 10 3-pointers on his way to a U.S. Olympic-record 37 points in the 156-73 win.

Durant did it this time, making eight of 10 shots from deep and finishing with a team-high 28 points, four rebounds, four assists and three steals in what U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski called his best all-around performance so far.

“That’s just the type of team we have,” Durant said. “So many guys that can do a lot. LeBron did a great job of starting the third quarter and bringing energy. And we kind of fed off of him and I was just able to make some shots.”

Some shots?

Durant admitted that he is loving every second he gets to toy with the international 3-point line. That’s why he didn’t even look down to see where he was on that last one.

“Once I caught it and shot it, I felt I had a good rhythm,” he said. “I knew when I caught that ball I was going to shoot it. So I didn’t even look down to see where the line was. It was a great pass and I’m glad I made it.”

Even on a roster full of superstars, it should come as no surprise that the U.S. has had to lean on the reigning league and Finals MVP, as well as Durant, when things get a bit sticky.

This is what they are supposed to do, on this stage, even when it’s just pool play and the biggest games are yet to come. That’s also why James and Durant remain supremely confident that the U.S. can shore up whatever defensive woes have been bothering them in the first halves of their past two games, especially now that three games stand between them and another gold medal.

“I’m not concerned,” James said. “We showed in the third quarter what we’re capable of doing. So we know it’s there. You only get concerned about something if you don’t have it. We have it. And we just have to do it a little more. We have to do it for 40 minutes instead of 20.”

50 Comments

  1. RW says:

    Sooo anybody else see Russell Westbrook dunk so hard the refs had to give him a tech so Argentina wouldn’t cry?

  2. THE BITTER TRUTH (Q PASO YANQUILANDIA ???, DUELE LA DE BRONCE ) says:

    YOU ( US.) KNOW WHY ALL THIS SUPERSTARS CAME HERE TO LONDON AND BEIJING ?????, I THINK U KNOW BUT U DONT WANT TO HEAR IT. IT IS VERY SIMPLE, BECAUSE ARGENTINA BEAT THE DREAM TEAM IN THE SEMIFINALS BACK IN THE 2004 OLIMPICS. AT THAT TIME, AND AS USUAL, US.THINKED THAT THEY WERE THE BEST TEAM IN THE WOLRD AND THAT THEY COULD BEAT ANYBODY, DISDAINFULLY UNDERESTIMATING AND LOOKING DOWN ON EVERY TEAM IN THE WORLD. SO, AS THEY THOUGHT THEY WERE THE BEST, THERE WAS NO NEED BY THAT TIME TO SEND THE BEST PLAYERS IN THE LEAGUE (GARNET,BRYANT,ONEAL,KIDD,MACRADY,WALLACE,BILLIPUS, SO ON AND SO FORTH) AND THEY JUST SENT NOT THE BEST AND MOST DOMINANT PLAYERS IN THE LEAGUE BUT SOME 2 ND ROLE PLAYERS FROM THEIR RESPECTIVE TEAMS ( EXCLUDING TIM DUNCAN) THINKING THEY COULD WIN THE GOLD. BUT WHAT HAPPENED,WHAT HAPPENED, ARGENTINA MADE THE BIGGEST SURPRISE OF ALL AND DEFETEAD THE ” DREAM TEAM”, AND THIS MEANT A TURNING POINT FOR THE US BASKETBALL, AND FROM THAT DAY ON, AS THEY WOULD NOT RISK ANY OTHER CHAMPIONSHIP OR OLYMPICS THEY DECIDED TO SENT THE BEST PLEAYERS AS THE ROSTER WE SEE CURRENTLY IN LONDON AND THE ONE WE SAW IN BEIJING AND THE LAST BASKETBALL WORLD CUP

    STOP SHOWING OFF AND PRETENDING TO BE THE BEST, BECAUSE WHEN U LEAST EXPECTED, SOMEONE WOULD ARISE AND GET WHAT THEY DESERVE.THIS WAY OF TREATING THE OPPONENTS STILL HAPPENS, AND I PROVED IT YESTERDAY, HOW THE US. SHOW OFF REPETEDLY(THANKS TO DURANTS TRIPLES, BECAUSE IF THAT WOULD NOT HAPPENED, I DOUBT THE RESULT WOULD HAVE BEEN THE SAME) TOWARDS THE ARGENTINIAN TEAM IS VERY IMPOLITE AND IMMORAL. NOT EVERYBODY, BUT MOST OF. U SHOULD LEARN TO BE A LITTLE BIT MORE RESPECTFUL AND HUMBLE.

    SO US. WHAT DOES IT FEEL TO KNOW THAT THE REASON WHY US DECIDED TO CREATE THIS TEAM TODAY HAS TO DO WITH THE VICTORY OF ARGENTINA OVER THE “DREAM TEAM”?

    • cp3 da best pg says:

      no such thing there is only one dream team fella so that didn’t make sense especially if you even said we sent a lot of role players and tim duncan then how is that a dream team melo was not in his prime nor lebron

    • HeatNation says:

      No one is going to bother to read whatever garbage you wrote if you write it in all caps. So maybe try rewriting it again. Not in all caps and do some spell checking. I’ve never heard of garnet or macrady before.

    • jbmony says:

      Bitter Truth…do some research first….it ain’t 2004 and the wheels were turning back in ’86 to include NBA players by FIBA Secretary Boris Stankovic. Prior to that our COLLEGE BOYS were winning against PROFESSIONALS in their mid 20’s to 30’s. Why exclude the NBA from the Olympics when other leagues were allowed to compete? Other countries knew that the NBA brand of basketball was the best in the world which is why they can claim themselves as world champs…Tell me, do you honestly believe that any EURO or WORLD champion team (outside of the US) could beat the Miami Heat this year? Or any NBA champ in a 7 game series? Boris Stankovic knew that the NBA brand of bball was light years ahead of FIBA so he felt it was unfair to exclude them. He reasoned that their inclusion would cause the world to really see a brand of basketball that they only heard rumors of being played at the highest levels. I love his reasoning …”If you are from another country and you run a race against Carl Lewis, maybe you don’t have a chance. But you still want to run”…That goes for allowing the NBA players in because the only way the rest of the world was gonna get better is to take it’s lumps while competing against the best. Because of that 92 team the popularity of bball was boosted in the traditionally soccer dominated countries. That’s why Manu and Scola were able to hone their skills by playing in the NBA. The NBA made them what they are today so we don’t owe them anything except another BUTT-KICKING …after that they can go back to their EURO BALL and dominate them. Seriously, Argentina is a team that is aging and fading and it doesn’t look to be getting better and developing young talent…..GINOBLI AND SCOLA IS ALL THEY GOT….GOOD LUCK….you did mention that if Durant didn’t hit all those 3’s , the US would’ve been in trouble…Didn’t Scola and Ginobli enjoy a LONG REST in the 2nd qtr? That’s why Durant is there IDIOT..to provide FIREPOWER…..That rest didn’t do DIRTY SCOLA or the FLOPMASTER GINOBLI ANY GOOD ….DID IT? Also consider this, there are 5 other players who are injured that could have made up the US who are not there and I know about the injured 35 year old guard from Agentina who is not playing…do you think he would have made a difference??? This concludes today”s history lesson for you….and you’d be luckY if ARGENTINA WINS A BRONZE….OR IN YOUR TONGUE…NECESITA SUERTE PARA ARGENTINA AGARRAR UN BRONCE GUEY!!!

    • The Real Truth of the matter says:

      Please, stop complaining about the talent that the US is sending to the Olympics. The whole point of the Olympics is to showcase your best talent in comparison to the rest of the world. Is Argentina and the rest of the world not sending their best and most talented players? Now, you huff and puff, and blame the US because they are more skilled than your players. The US players are confident and believe that they can beat anyone.. THAT IS THE ATTITUDE YOU ARE SUPPOSED TO HAVE IN COMPETITION!! Obviously, you either never played a sport in your life, or you liked and accepted losing.

  3. THE BITTER TRUTH (Q PASO YANQUILANDIA ???, DUELE LA DE BRONCE ) says:

    EVERYTIME U WIN A CHAMPSIONSHIP, YOU SHOULD HOIST THE FLAG THAT SAY NBA CHAMPIONS, NOT WORLD CHAMPIONS, BECAUSE YOU DID NOT WIN THE WORLD BUT US., AND THERE SHOULD BE ANOTHER FLAG HOISTED IN EVERY BASKETBALL COURT IN US THAT SHOULD SAID, ” ARGENTINA 2004 OLYMPICS, THEN WORLD CHAMPIONSSSSS !!!!!!!!

  4. nbafan says:

    yup

  5. Pedro says:

    Don’t count Brasil out yet, only one loss to a last second three from Russia.

  6. USA is the best they will win the gold undefeated!The rest of the world is garbage!

  7. emi_argentina says:

    i been see KD all the season whit OKC and he is unbelieveble, amazing shoots, but this is just a preliminary game if we past brazil its gonna be a great game whit the best player in the history of argentina basketball Manu Ginobili he and team are champs so remember the 2004 semis anything can happend..

  8. W/E says:

    TEam usa 12 is awesome guys,they got superb individual talent,they stink at the center position however and their coaching seems to be weak,but they still have more than enough to own any current team u throw at them with durant,melo,LBJ and all those all star guards they have..

  9. Law064 says:

    LMAO @ Boomer get real dude. You have a better chance at winning a bronze in Womens Gymnastic’s than Australia have at beating the US. I’m in tears from your comment lol

  10. Andrew Benjamin - Philippines says:

    Obviously the USA team will win the Olympic Gold…stop arguing IDIOTS…wht if the USA team put Phil J as thr coach or Doc Rivz…whew…i really love the Lebron And KD show

  11. Boomer says:

    Australia will beat the US in the quarters!! Get ready for it!

  12. Troy says:

    1992 or 2012? Aftrer watching 12 compete, I believe that they could get a game on 92. Someone made me a believer because they said just get “A” game. not beat every time or best out of…just win a game.I wouldn”t put that past 2012 team. No way would I say the would beat 92 everytime just like 92 won’t beat 2012 everytime. Matter of fact, 96 could beat 92 and 2012 in a given game.. How about them apples?

  13. hazeykun says:

    kevin durants long three pointer was DEADLY!!! Im sure hes got the best shooting percentage in the entire olympics right now???
    you can see just how much he likes those dagger shots from his expression… cold and SERIOUS!!!

  14. Law064 says:

    USA USA USA!!!!!! Great 2nd half from the US, Lebron and Durant especially. I really hope Argentina win so the US can eliminate them. The game was close but KD just caught fire. I have not seen the Espana guy posting lately since his team Spain have been playing so poor. Gold medal will go to the US!!!!! USA USA USA

  15. Factcheck says:

    Melo doesnt have the Olympic record. Well he did for a day. Patty Mills has the record.

    • doublefactcheck says:

      Melo never had the olympic record, he has the U.S. olympic record for scoring. Smchidt? I think from Brazil has the olympic record for most points in a game.

  16. Han says:

    It’s obvious the Lithuania game was the result of partying too hard from the Nigeria game.

  17. NBAfan says:

    It’s one thing to be patriotic and route for your team/country in the Olympics, but it’s another to spit in the SPORT OF BASKETBALL by acting like one particular team is completely invincible. Players have off nights. Opposing players can catch fire like crazy. Fatigue can become a factor. Foul trouble can be a factor. Just momentum and heart can sway the flow of the game…

    If one team was so dominant ove the other teams that there is absolutely 0% chance to beat them, then there’s no point in watching. I like the NBA, I like the NBA players, and I like the US team, but I like basketball more and I wouldn’t want any team to be 100% sure of winning it all.

  18. mah- says:

    yes, but where did ginobli learn the game? from watching USA USA

  19. EC says:

    For the fans who like to see brilliant individual performance, athleticism and arrogance, the games from team 2012 are nice. All those who want to see team basketball, running systems and modest behavior take a look at Lithuania, Argentina, etc.

    USA is 100 times bigger than Lithuania, 8 times bigger than Argentina…. just imagine that both countries had the chance to chose the best out of 310 mn people instead of 3,1 resp. 40 mn. And imagine, what if both contries had a pro league of the dimension of the NBA….. add Spain, Russia, etc….

    But it´s a shame how dirty the US played. Love is pushing and flopping all the time, Chandler is complaining all the time, Paul plays dirty and so on and so forth…. And the refs don´t react. Jasikevicius was obviously pushed at the baseline, but instead of winning an OSCAR for playing the poor fouled guard he tried to maintain the balance but finally lost the ball.

    How can any member of team 12 EVER EVER EVER go for a comparison with team 92???

    If it was for real, Daly would select Rodman for Laettner and maybe The Dream for Ewing. He would skip Magic who hadn´t played the regular season and maybe also Bird who was injured and at the end of his career. He would select Nique, KJ or Dumars instead, giving him reliable scoring options (all 3 >20 ppg in 92) and defensive quality (Dumars all NBA def. team 92). Add Howard, Rose, Wade for…. whom???

    LBJ would cry after 5 minutes with The Worm. Howard would have 4 fouls in the first half shaken through by The Dream. Durant would more or less neutralize with Pip, same with Jordan and Kobe. Who would stop Malone or Barkley? Would that be Melo, Love? Come on… and don´t ask me who could stop Wade or Rose…. there´s still Drexler an option to guard Kobe and MJ guarding Wade or Rose. Dumars was prime D in 92, Stockton was a plague on D with a creer average of 2.2 spg in 1504 games.

    If you also took away the 20 year evolution in medical treatment, training methods, shoes etc. ….. this would be a no brainer.

    Thank god that team 92 must not play team 12 in reality….

    • jbmony says:

      One question EC….How many players can you name from other countries who played NBA ball in ’92 compared to today??? ….Kukoch, Marcelinus,Petrovic(not sure of my spelling on the names but you get my drift) just to name a very few. The competition is miles better now than in ’92 and factor in that at least 5 senior men’s Bball players are missing from the team. The other countries are just not as deep and I understand the population pool is not as great as the US but the other countries benefit in ways like having US coaching (Australia and Russia come to mind) and being together longer and able to jell quickly. The US is STILL developing chemistry with one another on the fly as the tournament continues. Even with a depleted squad and coming off of a jacked-up NBA season, they still find a way and still are the most feared team when it all comes together….Like the Lithuania coach said,”Pick your poison and then decide how you’re going to die”….

      • rockets ze bestest says:

        its not about how many players were in the nba before as a lot of great players during the soviet era didnt go to the US. and in the early 90s european basketball was at its best and theere were more countries who could actually win european championships. So european basketball was muchbetter than it is now.

  20. Norma says:

    Krzyzewski is the biggest weakness of the team USA and now he finally admits it while saying that other teams are “well coached” :)

    My grandma would win a gold as a coch with this team.

    Krzyzewski, try coaching in the NBA, stop hiding behind superstar team!

    • TTKIN says:

      You do realize that you’re talking about one of the greatest coaches in basketball history right? A coach who has been in the hall of fame for over a decade. Just so u know cuz u make it sound like he hasnt done anything good in his career. And FYI, he has also molded a ton of star talent that you proly drool over while watching the NBA. But Im sure you have good reason for calling out the coach.

      • Norma says:

        That is right.

        Mike Krzyzewski wound not make it into the top 10 coaches in NBA.

        Not even top 15, he’s wayy behind Phil Jackson or Greg Popvich.

        Any of them would with this much talent beat Argentina/Lithuania on the Olympics by a 30+ point margin.

      • mr-plow says:

        greatest in COLLEGE my friend.

      • The Beard says:

        This is to Norma. If i had players like micheal jordan, kobe, shaq, duncan, tony parker, and ginobli, i would be the greatest NBA coach too.

  21. jetty says:

    No one can stop the US. all the other countries can just dream on

  22. Mike says:

    Campazzo also received a punch in the stomach from Chris Paul, when the ball was not even near in the first quarter.

    • xStephenx says:

      Flop^

    • Cedric says:

      So what? how many fouls were uncalled on team USA that game the fouls given to leBron maybe you think were right? Mostly when lebron fell on the floor without touching Manu who showed his flopping skills as usual

  23. Belizeboy says:

    Just like I figured US would do. Shows that the last game was a just them being lazy. Argentina is a much better team than Lithuania and look what happened. To all the critics I hope you’ll shut up about the US.

    • Mike says:

      Eeey, get your thinking right. Lithuania is much better team than Argentina – the problem is that you are American and the only Argentinian player you know is Manu while you know none from Lithuania…that is why for you Argentina is a better team:) But forget about that, Lithuania has huge basketball history, despite you knowing no players

  24. Someone who loves basketball says:

    Sekou, and the rest of USA who thinks that you’re the best of the world, you’re invincible and your ego is over the sky… read this http://sports.yahoo.com/news/nba–basketball-world-owes-manu-ginobili-and-argentina-debt-of-gratitude-.html#more-id

    • WhiteHotHeat says:

      Get a life dude!!! who cares about some stupid article written by some loser!!! The game of basketball was born in the US and we will dominate the sport forever!!! You can keep you sorry @ss succer!!! USA #1!!!

      • Pedro says:

        You dominate the game, that is out of question. Our goal is to learn and some day play at the same level and beat you. Loser is who don’t make efforts to improve. Argentine is not the case. We lost against a great team. But our guys tried. They are winners.

      • KVNX says:

        USA didnt create basketball. LOL

      • Raptors says:

        correct your self, the game of basketball was originated from CANADA

      • Durantula says:

        haha does that mean the raptors should be the best team

      • RaptorIsWrong says:

        Actually it was invented in the USA. By a man who was BORN in Canada, but it was INVENTED in the USA