Kobe Bryant put forth a massive effort in the fourth, scoring 12 points on four threes in the final frame. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
It was touch and go for a while, but Team USA managed to advance to the semifinals in Olympics basketball action on Wednesday evening, defeating Australia 119-86. LeBron James played an excellent all-around game for the United States, grabbing a team-high 14 rebounds while adding 11 points and 12 assists to register the first triple double in Team USA basketball history.
Team USA led by 14 at the half, but Australia made it interesting, scoring eight unanswered points to start the third quarter. Led by Patty Mills and Joe Ingles offensively, the Aussies put forth a valiant effort and shot 45% from the field for the game. Mills had a game-high 26 points in a losing effort.
Kobe turned on the jets in the final frame, knocking down four straight three-pointers en route to 20 points on the night.
It wasn't all good for the Americans on Wednesday, however -- there was a distinct lack of intensity on defense for Team USA through the first three quarters, allowing Australia far too many scoring opportunities.
Former Sun Devil James Harden was a non-factor, playing sparingly and scoring seven points in mop-up duty for the Americans.
With the win, Team USA advances to play Argentina in the semifinals on Friday. That matchup will mark the third meeting between the two teams since mid-July, and will give the United States a great opportunity to advance to the gold medal game. Can Manu Ginobili and company spoil the fun for the Americans?