The 83-point win over Nigeria seems like long ago after two straight close games, yet the results are all the same.
Argentina gave Team USA a hard-fought (and some may say cheap) game from start to finish, but the Americans emerged with a 126-97 victory, thanks to strong second half efforts from Kevin Durant and LeBron James. With the win, Team USA finished the group play stage a perfect 5-0—the only men's team to go undefeated—and moves on to the Olympic quarterfinals on Wednesday.
The first half was a fierce battle, as Kobe Bryant's seven points helped the Americans to a 34-32 lead. The Argentinians stormed back in the second quarter, and thanks to to nearly four-minute span in which the USA only hit one field goal, the Americans only held a 60-59 halftime edge.
With the thought of an upset very much a reality, Durant made sure that such talk was swiftly dismissed with an incredible third quarter.
Durant put up 17 points in the quarter, connecting on five of his six three-point attempts. He also added four rebounds and three steals as Team USA put up 42 points in the quarter to take a comfortable 102-76 lead into the fourth quarter.
The fourth quarter saw no such comeback bid from Argentina, who were led by Manu Ginobli's 16 points. Argentine did shoot 50.8% from the field, but were undone by 16 turnovers.
Durant finished the game with 28 points, connecting on eight of 10 from beyond the arc, five rebounds and three steals, LeBron James chipped in 18 points and five assists and Chris Paul had 17 and six assists. Kevin Love and Andre Iguodala each scored 13.
Former Sun Devil James Harden didn't see any time until the fourth quarter and was a non-factor, finished with just four points.
Team USA will face Australia in the quarterfinals on Wednesday, with tip time set for 2:15pm PST/5:15pm EST.