Team USA got 20 big points from veteran Kobe Bryant and an impressive triple-double from LeBron James to defeat Australia 119-86 and advance to the semifinals of Olympic Basketball competition from London, England Wednesday.
Bryant led the Americans with 20 points on 6-of-14 shooting from the field; all six makes coming from three-point territory while James tallied 11 points, 12 assists and a game-high 14 rebounds in the win.
Australia was carried by San Antonio Spurs backup guard Patty Mills who scored 26 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the floor including 4-of-9 shooting from three-point range.
Joe Ingles added 19 points on an efficient 6-of-8 shooting for the Australians.
Despite their 14-point advantage over Australia heading into the third quarter, the United States didn’t appear nearly as fluid or cohesive as they did against Argentina in Monday’s dominating 126-97 preliminary final.
That lack of urgency and chemistry would spill out in the third as Australia went on a lightning quick 11-0 run to draw to within just three points at 56-53 to start the period.
However, just as quick as the Aussies started the fire the US would put it out with a 14-5 run of their own behind eight points from Bryant.
The soon-to-be 34-year old Bryant would continue his scoring onslaught on into the final period, closing out the contest notching all 20 of his points in the second half.
After watching Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant both go on similarly impressive individual scoring runs during these 2012 Olympic games, Kobe chose to resurface at a much needed time for the United States customary to what we’ve seen him do in the past knocking down six straight three-pointers in that pivotal second half.
While the “Black Mamba” dropped jumper after jumper; LeBron James delighted the London crowd and his teammates with pin-point no-look bounce passes and forceful attacks at the rim.
LeBron took just seven total shots on the evening, knocking down three, but it was his impressive command of the game that really stood out against Australia.
He ended the contest with a game-high in rebounds (14) and assists (12) while incredibly not committing a single turnover in 30 solid minutes of play.
Next up for Team USA stands Argentina who defeated Brazil 82-77 in their quarterfinal matchup Wednesday.
The two International powerhouses will face off Friday at 9 p.m. from London, England.
[2012 Men’s Olympic Basketball Schedule and Scores]
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© 2012 Jarrod Gillis — All Rights Reserved