Team USA is now one step away from fulfilling their destiny, defeating Argentina 109-83 on Friday night to advance to the gold medal game against Spain.
The United States got off to a hot start, taking a 18-6 lead only four minutes into the first quarter. Kobe Bryant was the key contributor to that great beginning, scoring 11 of those points.
The Argentinians were not interested in going away quietly, however. By the end of the first, Argentina was only down five points. Manu Ginobili was the most significant cog once again for the Argentines, knocking down a huge three pointer to close out the first half and scoring 18 points in the game.
The Americans were unstoppable as the game wore on, knocking down shot after shot against a helpless Argentinian squad in the second half. Up only seven after the first two quarters, Team USA blew up the lead to 29 points in the fourth.
James Harden did not check in until there were little over five minutes remaining in the game, knocking down a three pointer for Team USA. Russell Westbrook appeared to roll his ankle with just three minutes to play, limping off the court and heading directly into the locker room.
There was plenty of chippy play from both sides. As is often the case, familiarity breeds contempt, and the third matchup in 3 weeks proved that there was plenty of bad blood in this semifinals matchup. Fortunately, things were mostly professional.
In the end, the Americans were just too deep, too talented and too motivated to be beaten by Argentina. With the win, Team USA advances to the gold medal game against Spain, which stars Pau Gasol, Marc Gasol, Jose Calderon and Rudy Fernandez. This will be a stiff test, but Team USA has passed every single one of those thus far.
The gold medal game will take place at 7:00 AM Pacific time on Sunday morning.