Team USA knocks off rival Argentina 126-97

The United States (5-0) beat Argentina (3-2) 126-97 in London on Monday.

After a one-point lead at halftime, Team USA responded with a 42-17 third quarter that blew the game open.  It was the second highest scoring quarter the U. S. has played in the 2012 Olympics, next to only the first quarter of the record-breaking Nigeria game.

Six Americans scored in double figures against Argentina, led by Kevin Durant‘s (Thunder) 28.  Kevin Love (Timberwolves) and Andre Iguodala (76ers) pulled down nine boards a piece for the U. S.  Chris Paul (Clippers) accounted for a game-high seven of Team USA’s 29 assists.

In 2002, Argentina became the first nation to defeat the United States since they’ve allowed professionals on their roster.  Monday, however, Argentina dropped to 1-3 against the U. S. since that fateful World Basketball Championship.  Manu Ginobili (Spurs) led the Argentines with 16 points, to go alone with five rebounds and six assists.  Luis Scola (Rockets) had 11 points, three boards, and two assists in just 18 minutes of play.  Meanwhile, Carlos Delfino (Bucks) chipped in 13 points in 29 minutes.

LeBron James (Heat) scored nine points in the first three-and-a-half minutes of the third quarter to help build a nine-point American lead.  It was the catalyst for Team USA’s third-quarter route.

After James went to the bench in foul trouble, Durant rattled off nine of the United States’ next 11 points.  He scored 17 of his 28 in the third quarter, including five triples.

As  Carmelo Anthony (Knickerbockers) hoisted the final tree of the third quarter, he fell victim to a shot to the groin by Argentina’s Facundo Campazzo.  The low-blow was in retaliation to an elbow Campazzo received earlier in the game from Paul of the USA.  Campazzo’s swipe at Anthony spurred immediate reactions from the United States’ bench and coaching staff alike.

“It was definitely a cheap shot,” Anthony said before Tuesday’s practice.  ”Something like that, I don’t play like that.  I don’t agree with that.  If you’re going to foul somebody, foul them hard; but, you don’t take a shot like that.  So, I don’t agree with that; but, at this point, there’s really nothing that [anyone] can do about it.”

Team USA closed out London 2012′s preliminary round as the lone undefeated team, atop Pool A.  The United States will play Australia (3-2) on Wednesday, August 8, at 3:15 PM ET.  The winner will face either Brazil (4-1) or Argentina in the semifinals.