Team USA, led by Kevin Durant’s 27 points, blew out Argentina 105-78 in the quarterfinals of the Rio Olympics on Wednesday.
Durant made 9/13 shots from the field besides racking up 6 assists and 7 rebounds while DeMarcus Cousins and Paul George dropped 15 and 17 points respectively coming off the bench. |Final Box Score|
Team USA up the ante
Coach Mike Krzyzewski decided to start Los Angeles Clippers big man DeAndre Jordan ahead of Cousins, a decision that paid dividends in the early stages of the game. Jordan protected the rim with precision and didn’t allow the Argentinians too many points in the paint.
Meanwhile, Carmelo Anthony had a poor outing, going 3/10 from the field before sitting out most of the second half of the game. Anthony clocked an Olympics low 13 minutes.
For the Argentinians, veteran Manu Ginobili had 14 points and 7 assists while Luis Scola had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Facundo Campazzo, who has earned a lot of laurels for his play in Rio, once again impressed with a tally of 13 points, 9 assists and 4 steals.
However, the 25-year-old guard committed untimely turnovers that dearly cost the underdogs. Argentina’s spirited effort wasn’t enough to contain the rampant Americans, who finally played like the No. 1 seed after three narrow victories against Serbia, Australia and France.
After the win, coach Krzyzewski praised Argentina’s efforts in Rio. “What a remarkable run by Argentina and so we knew we had to match that energy tonight. I thought we did.”
Manu bows out…
Ginobili, who played his final international game, teared up after receiving applause from fans and notable Team USA opponents. “They congratulated me and I’m very proud of their words. They were very kind, very respectful and when legends of the game showed their respect, it has an extra value,” said the San Antonio Spurs legend.
Durant said that the team had finally found its mojo and was ready for Friday’s semi-final game. “We fed off wanting to play better than the last three games. We’ve got to build on it but we’re not satisfied at all.”
For Team USA, a victory on Friday would ensure at least a silver medal and a berth on Sunday’s final.