U.S. Whips Argentina 109-83, Move On To Gold Medal Game Against Spain





LONDON – The U.S. Men’s Senior National Team is one step away from accomplishing its summer mission.

A win in Sunday’s gold medal game against Spain will validate all of the hard work, all of the sacrifice and all of the sweat expended in a pursuit to restore a nation’s proud basketball tradition.

And there will be a day to celebrate it all, provided it happens in the proper way.

But this was not that day.

Friday’s Olympic semifinals were overshadowed by the one man whose name has been able to block out all other things whenever it’s been mentioned this year, and no, it’s not reigning NBA and Finals MVP LeBron James.

Dwight Howard is now officially a member of the Los Angeles Lakers after Friday’s four-team blockbuster was cleared by the league, the fourth and perhaps final piece in a championship puzzle alongside Kobe Bryant, Steve Nash and Pau Gasol.

Only Bryant and Gasol were in North Greenwich Arena for the semifinals, Gasol and Spain  defeating Russia in the first game 67-59 and Bryant at the U.S. demolishing Argentina 109-83. All of the questions, it seemed,were about were about Howard and the impact he’ll have not only on the Lakers, but on the entire landscape of the league nowt hat he’s moving into the locker room at Staples Center and Andrew Bynum is moving into the locker room at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia.

“They lost a dominant big man and got another one,” said U.S. and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul. “Don’t change much for me. I won’t lose any sleep over it. I can’t control what goes on over there.”

It changes everything for Bryant and the Lakers. The gap between eras the Lakers were staring down when the face of the franchise retired will be much easier to manage if Howard is already in the fold (there is still the business of an extension to tend to for Howard next summer).

And even on a night when it was all about this U.S. Team’s triumphant return to the Olympic final for a rematch with the Spain team they defeated for gold four years ago in Beijing, it was impossible for anyone to avoid the obvious discussion about Bryant’s “other” team, especially when you consider the way they disposed of Argentina with relative ease.

“I have talked to Dwight. Talked to him this morning. He gave me a call,” Bryant said, looking as relaxed as he has been on this entire summer journey that began with USA Basketball training camp this time last month in Las Vegas. “He was happy to find a home. I told him Los Angeles is the perfect place for him. If you look at history, and all the great centers that have come to LA. Now he’s the next in line. He couldn’t have come into a better position than to be with this type of organization. I’m really excited for him and he’s very excited, too.”

Bryant already has the succession plan in place.

“I’ll probably play two or three more years and then the team is his,” he said. “I’m excited for the Laker franchise because now they have a player that can carry the franchise well after I’m gone. And it should be his. And he should be willing to accept that challenge.”

While the news about the trade traveled quickly from the States, the reaction was mixed among Bryant’s summer teammates here. Knicks forward Carmelo Anthony relishes his chances to go after the new-look Lakers.

“I love it,” he said after yet another one of his signature scoring runs in the fourth quarter against Argentina — he scored three 3-pointers in 42 seconds to snuff out any pipe dreams of Argentina battling back in the final minutes. “I can’t wait to see them on Christmas.”

Timberwolves forward Kevin Love said it only serves to strengthen an already formidable Lakers team, one that Bryant insisted would have been a championship contender with either Howard or Bynum.

“They are a load either way,” he said. “Dwight and Nash added to what they already had is going to be problems for a lot of teams.”

But Paul said warned that what looks one way on paper doesn’t always guarantee anything on the court and used the U.S. Team’s run through this tournament as proof.

“Look at our team,” he said. “If it was on paper and we didn’t have to play the games, we’d walk out of here with an easy gold medal, right? You put paper next to our team and every other team here and on that paper we’ve got a cake walk. But we have to play the games. So regardless of who is on whose team, you have to play the games. That’s the way it is when you’re trying to win a gold medal and that’s the way it is when you’re trying to win a NBA title.”

That sounds great in theory, honorable even. But it’s probably not the best analogy.

Not with the U.S. heading into Sunday’s gold medal game having annihilated the competition in all but one game, a 99-94 win over Lithuania in pool play. Argentina was supposed to be one of their toughest matchups and they waxed them by 29 points Monday and by 26 in Friday night’s rematch.

Granted, they haven’t faced Spain yet here. But these are essentially the same two teams that played in that gold medal game four years ago, except the U.S. Team’s biggest stars are four years older, wiser and stronger (Bryant is the only one heading into the twilight of his Hall of Famer career) and they even brought along the reigning and three-time scoring champion Kevin Durant, who sank four three pointers during a mercurial third quarter stretch when combined with James to blow the game open, and some of his fresh-legged buddies.

“We still have to play the game,” Paul said. “That goes for Sunday and for whatever happens once training camp starts back home.”

Sunday first.

42 Comments

  1. marky thomas says:

    The headline is misleading as the news is about “Dwightdrama”. Sekou should have given more emphasis to the national theme because this is a matter of national interest and considering the headline requires it to be that .Im simply too tired of the dwight drama…..just saying,people are entitled to their opinion.

  2. android 10000000 says:

    let the games begin

  3. Dan says:

    I don’t see how Lakers can defend OKC. Nash on Westbrook ? Even Harden vs. Kobe can potentially even out. & Harden plays good D on Kobe. Artest cannot guard Durant … and OKC has good post D with Ibaka and Perkins … and we have Maynor back … plus Sefalosha and now Perry Jones

    • Quincy says:

      Finally someone with some sense!!!!!!

      • Abdel- Malik says:

        OKC still has a great chance to take the lakers. It’ll be a good battle, but look at the match up: Perkins and Ibaka vs DHoward and ( scared) Pau Gasol. Kobe vs the great Defender Sefalosha. Westbrook vs Nash. Durant vs the great Defender Artest. Then you have the stronger bench in OKC with Harden, Veteran- Collison, Maynor,ect. Whereas the lakers have a weaker bench. But the Lakers have a lot more leaders. Whereas Westbrook shot too much during the finals, and kevin wasnt selfish enough, and needed to take more shots– All im trying to say is we can’t count either one of these teams out, we just have to wait and see what happens next year. I’m Excited for next year.

  4. vern says:

    Cris Paul is right, what looks good on paper means nothing.Howard loves being “The Man”. He’ll have to share that role with a few Lakers.Time will tell if he can. He doesn’t even know if he can that’s why he wouldn’t sign the extension.

  5. vern says:

    The Lakers will still be shy of a championship appearance .Howard still doesn’t know how good he should be.He’s just a stronger Bynum.

  6. I have to admit that DH to Lakers puts them as the favorite to win it all next year. If they don’t win it, the backlash is going to be worse than Miami had to endure. Hopefully the Heat will be able to make it back to the final dance and win it all! Next season is going to be the most watched season in NBA history!!!

  7. LEBRON JAMES says:

    us will beat spain for gold medal

    spain for silver

  8. Knick Man says:

    I really like this pick up for the Lakers. Now its back to the Kobe and a great big man that combo is perfect for Kobe he knows how to make that work. This is just like Kobe and Shaq all over again just this time its better because he has Gasol and Nash. I Think this team is better than the 00-02 Lakers. I predict a MELO KOBE showdown for the titile, Christmas day will be a Championship preview guys MELO FOR THE RING

  9. mike poland says:

    as far as I remeber celtics trio was created by boston gm. They did not even talk about playing with each other until ray and kg got traded to c’s…

    • Perry says:

      KG wouldn’t sign an extension there until Ray was traded there, and that made the trade happen, but I definitely agree with you otherwise. Ray and KG both wanted out of horrible teams for good reasons, but like I said before, it wasn’t the first time that great players joined forces to create a great team and win a championship. I really dislike the way Howard went about it, I think he was very immature about the whole process. But free agency and demanding trades didn’t start within the last decade.

  10. ESPANA WILL BE GOLD MEDAL CHAMPIONS OF 2012 OLYMPIO BASKETBALL says:

    ESPANA has tools to BEAT TEAM USA/TEAM LUCK SHOT 3-POINTER because they have Caulderon and Navarro and they are good. not lucky 3 point shooter of USA named Durant and Anthony. Look how they shoot bads against Lithuania. They will shoots bad against ESPANA then ESPANA beats them with BIG MENS Marc Gasol, Pau Gasol plus Serge Ibaka. Plus Team USA lost Russell Westbrook. Without him they are not as strongs and ESPANA will have EASY time scoring.

    When Espana wins, do not comes here and talk to make excuses for TEAM USA winning. TEAM USA EXCUSES Like say

    1) Oh, we did not play well that day.

    2) the FIBA referee was not good like in NBA they protect us

    3) We beat ourselves and make ourselves lose.

    4) We not luckys on that day so our LUCKY 3-POINT SHOT not go in

    NO. SILLY EXCUSES BY AMERICANS. It will be funny to read them here after the game. The REAL REASON why you lose to ESPANA

    ESPANA IS SUPERIOR BASKETBALL NATION TO YOU!

    CONGRATS TO ESPANA FOR WINNING 2012 GOLD MEDAL IN BASKETBALL!!!

    3) We were not lucky that

    • guy says:

      spoken like a true spainiard and spain fan…ill give you that. But, team usa will beat spain not just on their “luck” threes, did you forget about lebron?

    • Roberto says:

      Don’t be silly: we can’t win because our worst enemy is our own coach!

      Aíto certainly knew how to face USA in 2008, Pepu could have done so. We could stand proud against USA hadn’t they been sacked because of that stupid rule saying that you’re forbidden of being the national team’s coach if you’re the coach of a club (but Scariolo was already the coach of a club, so they ignored the rule in this case; call that Spanish endemic corruption of the system). They’re both adaptable coaches that play their game and force the other team to cope in order to win. But Scariolo is lame and doesn’t know how to use the great players available to him. He’s of that old “basket-control” school, as is Obradovic, the difference being the latter is adaptable too and has a magnificent hat of tricks. Scariolo is Spain’s coach just because he’s best friend of Sáez, FEB’s president. This guy is destroying the great legacy left by the truly respectable and sorely missed Mr. Segura de Luna.

      The only thing that matters is: we have a team that loves playing fast and knows how to play fast, loves scoring and knows how to score, etc. Scariolo is always on the brakes (take his time outs as an example: nonsense from a below-average junior coach). The thing is I remember this guy already tearing apart winning clubs like Real Madrid or Baskonia. We can’t win against a Team USA that plays with all those great features our coach throw to the rubbish can.

    • FettaFetta says:

      Ummm… explain to me, espana man, how kevin durant will all of a sudden not be able to make the shots he has been making ALL tournament? Is that luck? Or the beast in Lebron, Melo, CP3, Kobe, and a strong supporting cast… Hard to see how this has all been luck

    • Perry says:

      Dude, you’re crazy. Spain is a good team, but they’re not superior to USA. The only close game the US has had was against Lithuania, because of their “good luck” not being there. Otherwise they have creamed every team that they’ve played.

      No es probable que España gane, pero es posible. Sin embargo, creo que EE.UU. van a ganar por unos veinte puntos, o más, como en todos los otros partidos. ¡Buena suerte, mi amigo! Si tú tienes razón y no yo, puedes reírte tanto como quieras.

    • Perry says:

      By the way, the USA had Westbrook, but for some reason he only played 9 minutes… maybe because he’s a bench player on a really awesome team. But I have to give you this: Spain is really good. That was a close game!

    • HEM says:

      Wait… who won? I think you might have to take back your “CONGRATS TO ESPANA FOR WINNING 2012 GOLD MEDAL IN BASKETBALL!!!” statement because its not true!!!!

  11. Ron says:

    No question if healthy the lakers and heat are in the finals. Orlando what did they receive for him? They are the worse organization. By the way lakers will destroy heat if healthy. They are balanced. Kobe at this age now is a bit overrated so that the only hope the nba has. Seem to me the lakers always get their way. Strange. Philly got a very good deal as well.

  12. Fefe (Nets) says:

    The Lakers are the favorite out West now. But it doesn’t mean that they automatically get to the NBA Finals. OKC and SA have very good chances to upset them. And it’s L.A., with Dwight and Kobe you have two great stars and two big egos too (even if Kobe is wiser than before).
    Fortunately for them, Nash and Jamison, two wise veteran All-stars, are there too. Let’s wait and see what unfolds.

  13. HMZ says:

    The gold medal will be for Spain
    Go Spain and cruch USA

  14. Excuses says:

    I am looking for “Team USA Will Not Win Gold”. I thought he would be here posting about how USA will lose to spain in the next game by now. Where is he? Is he quiet already? Lol

  15. Bojeezy says:

    The Lakers basically have an allstar team. I agree with Cuppa Joe that CP3 is just butt hurt that he isn’t on the Lakers squad and Nash is. He would of been great for the Lakers because he does everything to help the team win and all the intangibles but that story is over now. Anyone who thinks Lakers won’t reach the finals is pretty much delusional. Sure, they need time to gel like any other team but when your starting roster is like an allstar team already it is hard to see them losing many games or a series. Sorry guys the Lakershow is back and the west is in trouble. OKC can try to compete but I think if all the players are healthy it will be a tough task to beat them. I am with ya’ll and can’t wait for the season to start becuase it is going to be a good one.

  16. Cuppa Joe says:

    CP3 mad, he was denied to become a Laker, “That’s right, they still gotta play the games. Then we’ll see, WE’LL SEE….”.

    How sad is it that the Howard trade talk is more important than team USA going to finals?

    • ??? says:

      of course Howard trade talk is more important that team USA going to finals because every people in the world knows from the start USA will win gold medal in men’s basketball, so why do they need to talk it?… LA Lakers are a BIG threat to the heat now but my question is can they do it in one year?… we all know dwight will leave the Lakers next season (if the lakers did’nt accomplish what they need to accomplish which is winning championship). Miami’s Big 3 did’nt win a chmpionship in their 1st year because of “chemistry” issue about the big 3.. we’ll see this season.

  17. newyorksteelo says:

    Kobe, Nash, Howard, and Gasol…….WOW. I wouldn’t be surprised to see them in the finals next year. It’s going to be an interesting upcoming NBA season. Can’t wait till it starts!

  18. gef says:

    hahaha! all star lakers vs. miami heat, sounds good. lets wait!!

  19. Bob says:

    Chemistry: that’s why the Spurs are always in contention. It takes time for a team to learn to play together. I knew, from the bottom of my heart, that the Heat would not win their first year. Blending LBJ and D Wade, two Alpha males, into a new system is a hard thing. The new Lakers remind me of the Sixers of the 70′s. Dr. J, Andrew Toney, George McGinnis, World B Free (Lloyd, at that time), Mo Cheeks, Bobby Jones, and Chocolate Thunder had so much talent they would take turns winning games in regular season, but it didn’t work in the playoffs. Time will tell, but chemistry will be an issue, for sure. I can say that this new Lakers will not win next year, but if they can hang in there, they could pick up a couple later.

  20. It´s not a good thing to celebrate before a game. Stars never do that. But Im pretty sure that players of US are down to earth about it and what they represent to others as mega idols around the world. Specially Lebron James who has given the plus to US team to achieve the gold.
    Sunday bloody sunday.

  21. Matown2 says:

    The Celtics have started a phenomenon with all these super teams 1st KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce decide to come together with the Boston Celtics and they win a championship, then Paul Gasol and Ron Artest come together with the Hollywood Lakers and they win multiple championships, then D-Wade, LBJ and Chris Bosh come together and win a championship now Ray Allen for the Miami Heat, then Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudamarie and now Jason Kidd for the NY Knicks, then Chris Paul, Chauncy Billups and Blake Griffin for the LA Clippers, then Deron Williams and Joe Johnson join up with the Brooklyn Nets, now Steve Nash and Dwight Howard come together with the LA Lakers. Fans, owners and players gonna have to accept the fact that the NBA is changin for the better in my opinion, its about winning championships and if it takes for superstar players to team up with other superstars to try and achieve the ultimate goal then so be it, Im not mad at all.

    • Chris says:

      I agree I think it is great for the game and will make more people want to watch it ! I cant wait to watch the NBA this season !

    • Perry says:

      I don’t know if I would say that the Celtics started that… Many championship teams have had all-stars teaming up together, whether it was through trades, draft, or free agency… Jordan didn’t win without Pippen and Rodman… Bird had McHale and others, and Magic Johnson with Jabbar, etc. It’s been that way for a long time. However, I do agree that it has advantages that way. It’s definitely fun and exciting to watch great players playing together.

  22. dattebayo says:

    The Lakers are title contenders like the New York Knicks are title contenders. Until you reach the Conference Finals you are just a good team that’s in the playoffs. Furthermore they still have issues. Will Howard be healthy, who will back up Gasol and Howard, can Nash be effective without several good 3 point shooters (Gasol, Goudelock, MWP and Barnes don’t shoot well from the arc), is Howard alone enough to fix the problem of quick penetrating guards, an issue the Lakers had for years, etc….

    Even with Howard and Nash, without solid bench production, the Lakers will not come out of the West. The Spurs or OKC still have a better shot at that. Kobe will never win a 6th ring and sadly Nash will never win 1…

    • Lakers says:

      The Lakers have got Jordan Hill back and have Antawn Jamieson for the bench ( 17 ppg ). MWP can shoot beyond the arc and so can KOBE along with Nash. And Dwight will stop guards like Rondo because he is better defender than Bynum. The are going to make the conf finals and potentially the Finals with the addition of Howard. By the way you sound like Skip Bayless ( the one who said LeBron wont ever win a ring). Watch your words my friend, watch your words.

      • OKC says:

        The Miami Heat serve as a good example when it comes to packing a bunch of superstars together on one team( even better would be the Knicks).Yes they are all great individual players but lets not forget what happened with Miami. You cannot expect a team like this to instantly win a title and forever dominate the west, it takes good team chemistry to win a title. On another note, each of these players have their own play style and come from teams which execute different offenses. For one, Kobe will no longer have the ball in his hand for an entire possession, Howard will not score as much( but will remain a defensive threat), Nash will be a great offensive coordinater but will get crossed over and left in the dust when it comes to D. Will, D. Rose(when healthy), Westbrook, CP3 and such players. I believe the Lakers will eventually be a great threat, but they must first adjust and learn to play well together. For now OKC and Spurs are the top dogs. My predictionis OKC/ Miami rematch and maybe in the following seasons Kobe may get his 6th.

      • loslosnimo says:

        +1 for you. I just hope Nash will play 2 or 3 more years with the Lakers.

      • Nave says:

        Howard cant guard Rondo, that’s for sure… he cannot even guard Kevin Garnett’s monster presence inside the court… Bynum is much better that Howard because he has a good shooting touch, many centers already got the weakness of Dwight, he cant control his emotions and has poor percentage on free throw line… Kobe wont get the sixth ring, that’s for sure…

    • purpandgold says:

      The main reason the Lakers got Howard is for his defensive and rebounding dominance, not for his scoring. Kobe will take care of the scoring as he has always done in the past, with Nash leading the attack and distributing accordingly from play to play. The Spaniard is the second proven scoring option for the Lakers, with a strengthened bench and roll players, the Lakers have all the tools necessary to reach the finals. The maturity and experience will shine through, all doubters will be proven wrong. There is way too much talent on the squad for this team to fail, specially with the most competitive player in the league leading the charge. Kobe and Nash are born leaders, with the same goals in mind, to win it all above all. The league has not seen this type of fire power from one team since the 80′s Lakers, when they dominated the decade. Any wrinkles will be ironed out throughout the season. The Lakers are back, in a major way

    • dattebayo says:

      OK, I might be a little mad over this Howard trade, I mean once again the Lakers barely gave up something and got everything they wanted in return. If you think Bynum for Howard is a bad trade for the Lakers or Howard for those 4 players is a good deal for Orlando, you couldn’t possibly say that with a straight face. I also think Philly will regret this trade, when Bynums knees give in once again.

      With Howard the Lakers will have better transition defense and Howard will be able to challenge guards like Westbrook, Rondo, Lawson and others at the rim. He won’t get more touches or points than Kobe on a regular basis though. The media likes to talk about the added PPG with the new players, but it’s not like the attempts also go up. The Lakers will have to share the ball and last season that was definitely not a strength of Kobe. I think it would go a long way for Kobe to not take as many shots as he did last season, but somehow I don’t see that happening even with Nash handling the ball and running the offense.

      I would have really liked to see Nash win a ring, but I really don’t wanna see Kobe win a 6th ring. With all the great players that have been and still are in the league and never won a ring or only one, Kobe doesn’t deserve to win 6 rings just because he plays for the franchise that is always able to spend more money than anybody else in the league. Also, after witnessing the Dwightmare for more than a season, do you really want a guy like that to win a ring?

  23. Cody says:

    Is this an article about Team USA or Dwight Howard?????