Tempers could flare in what’s sure to be a heated contest between the Americans and the team that beat them in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. But don’t expect a second upset.
Team USA seems to be firing on all cylinders, having just blown out Australia 119-86 in the quarterfinals. Lebron James and Kevin Durant have led the team, with some help from Carmelo Anthony. But even Kobe Bryant showed up against the Aussies, throwing in 20 points in the second half of that game.
Look for Team USA to take their play to another level against the Argentines. We’re into the medal rounds now, and there’s reason to believe Team USA has a gear we haven’t seen yet.
Argentina’s got plenty of NBA talent, led by Manu Ginobili and the second-leading scorer in these Olympics, Luis Scola. But unlike Athens in 2004, Argentina simply doesn’t have the firepower to knock of a focused Team USA—which seems to be improving as the tournament progresses. Plus, the Americans already had their wake-up call in a close victory over Lithuania last week.
Expect Argentina to keep things close for some of the first half. As the game wears on, though, expect Team USA to drop the hammer. The Americans have plenty of motivation now that they’re into the medal rounds. Add the chippy ending to the two teams’ last meeting, and you’ve got a recipe for a blowout of Olympic proportions.