The USA basketball men’s national team returned to form against Argentina behind Kevin Durant’s 27 points, winning 105-78. Although they fell behind early 19-9, they went on a 27-2 run that crushed Argentina’s spirit and decided the game. Now team USA moves on to the semifinal match against Spain.
Spain has also returned to form after three subpar performances with an impressive win against France, 92-67. Being led by Pau Gasol and other NBA veterans, the Spanish team poses the biggest threat to the USA’s quest for gold. The Americans greatest challenge will be on offense as Spain’s lockdown defense has made it difficult for opponents to score.
The good news for the U.S. is that they undeniably have the best pool of talent in the tournament. They have also seemed to shake their lackadaisical attitudes and are focused on winning at all costs. However, team USA still falls victim to slow starts. While they may be able to outscore Argentina 45-10, they will not want to fall behind early in the semifinal. Playing from behind against Spain could lead to an upset the Americans have been adamant about avoiding.
Although Spain has stepped up their play, the U.S. has reason to be confident Friday. In Wednesday’s match against Argentina Durant was 9-for-13 overall including 7-for-9 from three. He also had seven rebounds and six assists. Durant is now 18-for-27 from three in Rio but more importantly the aggressiveness he showed against Argentina is a good sign for team USA heading into their meeting with Spain.
Other notable team USA players against Argentina was Paul George added 17 points on 8-for-14 shooting while DeMarcus Cousins dominated the paint with 15.
Watch Team USA vs. Spain
Location: Carioca Arena 1, Rio de Janeiro
Time: Friday, 2:30 p.m. ET
USA Basketball Women’s National Team Schedule
Gold medal game against Spain, Saturday, August 20, 11:30 AM