With a chance to play for a second gold medal, LeBron James took matters into his own hands on Friday against Argentina.
Just two days after securing USA Basketball’s first triple-double, James scored 18 points, corralled seven rebounds and dished out seven assists, helping the United States defeat the Argentinians for the second time in three games, 109-83.
After allowing 59 points in the first half in their last head-to-head game, the United States held Manu Ginobili and company to 40 points this time and turned the game towards their favor in a decisive third quarter. Much like their other wins thus far, the third frame has been the key to victory for the United States, as they outscored Argentina 27-17 in this one.
Ginobili, who scored 18, opened the third quarter with a 3-pointer to pull Argentina to within four points, but Kevin Durant and James took over with several quick offensive strikes. Durant finished with 19 on 5-10 shooting from beyond the arc, while the 2011 NBA MVP used bruising strength to power to the basket and score.
Carmelo Anthony showed off his scoring prowess once again, scoring 18 points on 50% shooting and four 3-pointers. Kevin Love lead the US again with nine rebounds, who outrebounded Argentina 40-23 on the boards.
With Spain defeating Russia 67-59 on Friday, the US will once again face off against them for a gold medal. The last time these two played for a gold medal, the Americans pulled away in the waning minutes of the fourth quarter, winning 118-107. Tipoff for Sunday’s game is 10 AM.