Kevin Durant and LeBron James keyed a second-half run that helped Team USA pull away from Argentina for a 126-97 win. Mike Krzyzewski’s club finished pool play with a perfect 5-0 record and will face Australia (3-2, 4th place in Group B) in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.
Neither team had much to play for; Argentina would have had to beat the US by about 45 points to win Group A on the point-differential tiebreaker. That may have contributed to both teams’ spotty work on defense in the first half. Team USA went into the break with a 60-59 lead; for comparison, China scored 58 points and Nigeria 63 in their entire games on Tuesday.
The Americans exploded out of the gate for the second half, scoring 42 points in the third quarter alone to put the game out of reach. Kevin Durant continues to hit three-pointers from the shorter international arc like layups; he canned five in the third for 15 of his game-high 28 points.
The game got a bit chippy after that. Argentina point guard Facundo Campazzo hit Carmelo Anthony in… a very sensitive area. Campazzo claimed he was getting even for a cheap shot he’d taken from Chris Paul. These teams could meet again in the semifinals if Argentina beats Brazil and the US handles Australia; it will be interesting to see if any bad blood carries over to that game.
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