Hit the jump for the live blog…
Team USA takes down Argentina 126-97 thanks to an incredibly strong second half performance on both ends of the floor. Chris Paul was magnificent in the first half, keeping Team USA in it. LeBron James shot out of a cannon to start the third to give Team USA some breathing room and then Kevin Durant’s firework show sealed the deal. Strong game from Iguodala, as well, who put up 13 points and nine rebounds in only 10 minutes of playing time. He’ll need to get some more playing time if Kobe continues to go ice cold from the field for whatever reason. Next up is the knockout rounds for Team USA. We’ll be here then!
Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Andre Iguodala. Everybody starting to get theirs now.
Westbrook just took off and slammed home a fierce one-handed jam. Team USA starting to flex their muscles against Argentina.
Carmelo and Durant nailing threes to end that third quarter and Team USA has blown it open. An eventful finish to the quarter as Melo hits a late three and gets hit in the man region by Argentina’s point guard. Should fire up the team for their second meeting down the line.
Durant hit another one from WAY downtown. He’s in some kind of zone.
Kevin Durant is in Melo mode right now. Bombing away from three. Team USA back up 16.
LeBron’s four fouls may not be too big of a concern because of Durant’s little explosion here. Team USA still needs to keep up the defensive pressure without LeBron. I’d like to see Iguodala here.
Chris Paul with a beautiful set up for Durant to step into a three. Team USA getting after it on defense and on the boards. Durant nails another three and it’s a 17 point game.
With Chandler in foul trouble LeBron has started to step up, making an impact on both ends of the floor. He’s got nine so far in the third and he’s being asked to guard Scola now. A good 3-4 minute spurt from him here could help USA seal this one early.
Team USA has come out of the lockerroom with a lot more energy. Former New Orleans Hornets Chris Paul (offensively) and Tyson Chandler (defensively) moving things along for the Americans.
Team USA only up one (60-59) after a half. Unlike the Lithuania game, Argentina is not a fluke and can beat Team USA not only today but also in the knockout rounds. Coach K has shown some flexibility with his line-ups coming out of halftime before so here’s hoping he realizes that Kobe is not playing well enough to justify playing time and runs with Paul/Melo/Durant/LeBron/Chandler to start the second half. Ginobili doesn’t mess around. He will torch Team USA the rest of the way if they don’t stick LeBron or Iguodala on him and tell them not to let Manu score. If he gets open space, he’ll continue to pick apart Team USA.
Chris Paul is the reason Argentina hasn’t taken this game over just yet. His energy on both ends of the floor is creating scoring opportunities for himself, which is odd. We normally don’t see him take on a scorers role but credit him for recognizing that his team needed someone to step up and being that someone.
Argentina continues to pour in three after three. Now tied 45-45 with Team USA with five minutes left in the first half.
Andre Iguodala with another great play, grabbing the offensive rebound on a Kobe miss and finding Chris Paul for a spot-up three.
Durant’s killer crossover is just about the only thing getting Team USA into the paint right now. There needs to be more weakside cutting from Iguodala. With Tyson Chandler in there could be some great backside screening action on the baseline.
What a great sequence there for Iguodala. He’s making an impact in this game right now. His defensive pressure against teams like this is key and he should be getting some more minutes going forward if he keeps this up (which we should expect). Iguodala is one of the few players that creates turnovers with his on-ball defense and Team USA needs any transition points they can get against teams that pack it in as well as Argentina.
Team USA leading by two after the first quarter thanks to a Kevin Durant three, but Argentina is set to give them a run for their money. When their back-up center is raining in threes from NBA range, you know lady luck is on their side. Per usual, Team USA will need to find a way to outshoot a team that will be knocking down a ton of outside shots.
Really is astonishing to see a line-up with Carmelo, LeBron, Deron Williams and Westbrook on the floor be unable to get one foot in the paint on an entire possession. Team USA going to have to make their outside shots if they want to win this one. Seeing a lack of off ball movement in their half court sets. Coach K hasn’t made many adjustments.
Ginobili already taking apart Team USA’s defense. Didn’t take long for him to confuse the Americans into submission. Argentina has a real shot in this game if Manu does his usual thing. They’ll need to dial it back on the Scola post-ups on Chandler, though.
Kobe, Durant and Chris Paul have all hit threes in the first three minutes of the game. Team USA’s defensive intensity looks much better, specifically when it comes to preventing Manu Ginobili from getting anything going. Ball is moving well offensively and it’s resulting in good looks that Team USA happens to be making tonight.
Team USA just did a terrific job walling of Manu Ginobili on a cut. Offensively it’s been two three pointers on three possessions. Argentina will give them those looks all night. Lets see if they have a better shooting night this time out.
We are getting ready to tip off the final pre-lim game of the Olympic tournament. Pablo Prigioni out for Argentina because of kidney stones.
Brazil’s takedown of Spain has pushed Team USA’s start back a bit so we are about 30 minutes away from tip now. Leandro Barbosa played a hell of a fourth quarter to help land his homeland the second seed in group B.
Welcome all! We’ll be liveblogging the rest of Team USA’s games this Olympics. The fun starts at 3:30 when they take on Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola and Argetina. This should be a very fun game, especially with Team USA coming off of a scare against Lithuania. Either the Americans are going to come out looking to prove that last game was a fluke or Argentina will be fueled by not only Lithuania’s close call, but also their own in an exhibition in Spain. With Ginobili at the helm, anything is possible for Argentina.