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USA routs Argentina to secure spot in gold medal game

London, England (Sports Network) - LeBron James poured in 18 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out seven assists, as the United States secured a spot in the gold medal game with a 109-83 victory over Argentina Friday in the semifinals of the men's basketball tournament.

Kevin Durant scored a game-high 19 points, while Carmelo Anthony tallied 18 points to help the United States remain perfect in the London Olympics and improve to 6-1 all-time against Argentina, with the only loss coming in the semifinals back in 2004 in Athens.

"The way we played I thought was very mature," said head coach Mike Krzyzewski. "I thought we handled everything tonight really well. I am proud of my guys."

The United States is now 17-2 all-time in Olympic semifinals and will take on Spain in the gold medal game on Sunday after Spain defeated Russia in its semifinal contest earlier on Friday.

"Anything less than this would not have been satisfying," said Anthony about making it to the gold medal game. "We believed that we can get there and we are here now and we have one game left."

Manu Ginobili led the way for Argentina with 18 points, while Carlos Delfino and Luis Scola donated 15 points apiece, but the Argentines lost to the United States for the third time in 20 days and for the third straight Olympic semifinals.

Argentina will face off with Russia in the bronze medal game on Sunday.

After scoring 20 points in the second half of the United States' quarterfinal victory over Australia, Kobe Bryant came out scorching against Argentina, reeling off 11 of the American's first 18 points to help build an 18-6 lead.

Argentina responded with the next nine points to pull within three, and trailed 24-19 after the first quarter.

After Kevin Love's layup gave the United States a 10-point lead late in the second stanza, Ginobili buried a three-pointer from the corner as the halftime buzzer sounded to send Argentina into the locker room trailing, 47-40.

Ginobili opened the second half with another triple to trim the margin to four, but Durant capped an 11-2 surge with a three-pointer of his own to extend the lead to 59-46 with just over six minutes left in the third.

The Americans continued to distance themselves, as Durant nailed back-to-back treys before a James layup extended the lead to 72-53 with just over 90 seconds remaining in the third.

"We have guys on this team that can get blistering hot. They get hot quick," said Bryant. "Me, KD (Durant) and Melo (Anthony) knocked down two shots each and all of a sudden the floodgates opened. It feels like we can't miss and it just seems like it happens instantaneously."

Anthony put the game away in the fourth, knocking down three consecutive three-pointers to press the margin to 93-64 and the United States coasted the rest of the way to set up a rematch of the 2008 Olympics, when the Americans topped Spain to claim the gold medal in Beijing.

08/10 21:06:14 ET


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