LONDON, United Kingdom (2012 London Olympics): Reigning Olympic gold medalists USA marched into their 15th Olympic Finals appearance beating 2004 Olympic gold medalists Argentina 109-83 in the semifinals of the 2012 London Olympics men’s basketball competition on Friday. The gold medal game will be a repeat of the one four years ago at 2008 Beijing Olympics with Spain having earlier in the day fought back from a first half deficit to beat Russia 67-59.
Leading 51-46 with 7:51 to go in the third quarter after a Manu Ginobili three-point play for Argentina, the USA took total control of the contest.
Kevin Durant drilled two three-pointers as part of an 8-0 run to make it 59-46. Durant went on to lead USA’s scoring with 19 points.
After an Andres Nocioni three-ball and a short jumper from Ginobili reduced the arrears to 59-51 for Argentina, LeBron James scored five straight points, including a huge dunk, to make it 64-51 in favor of the Americans.
“It definitely gave us some momentum, that dunk, and then he came back and had an offensive rebound and put-back,” said Carmelo Anthony.
“Then he hit another shot. He got it going. So we fed off that energy,” added Anthony, who along with Lebron James had 18 points each.
Mike Krzyzewski’s team went on to lead 74-57 by the end of the third quarter and cruised the rest of the way.
The United States surpassed the 100-point mark for the fifth time at the London Games.
Spain struggled mightily against Russia’s imposing defense in the first half and trailed by 11 points at the end of it.
But in a reverse of their meeting in the group stages, when Russia came from 18 points down to win 77-74, Spain came alive after the break to make what was once a 13-point deficit into victory.
A Spanish team dominated by members of Los Chicos de Oro, the golden generation that emerged when they won the 1999 World Junior Championship, came through when it mattered to give themselves another shot at a first-ever Olympic gold on Sunday.
Pau Gasol led Spain with 16 points while Jose Calderon added 14 and Marc Gasol and Rudy Fernandez had 11 each.
Sasha Kaun had 14 points and Anton Ponkrashov and Andrei Kirilenko 10 each for Russia.
“It’s huge to make it twice in a row to the Final of the Olympics, four years apart,” said Pau Gasol
“For our country, it’s obviously a huge accomplishment.
“We don’t want to be satisfied by just getting to the Final.”