After Team USA dropped both of its exhibition games this past week, doubt started to creep in about the group’s chance to walk away with the gold medal later this summer in Tokyo. A dominant performance in Tuesday’s third Olympic tune-up should silence any worries for now.
Team USA cruised to a win over Argentina on Tuesday evening in Las Vegas, running away in the second half to come away with a 108-80 victory. Bradley Beal and Kevin Durant each poured in 17 points to lead a balanced scoring effort that saw five American players in double-digits at night’s end.
The Gregg Popovich-led squad pounced on Argentina from the tip, exploding for 33 points in the first quarter. Team USA extended its lead to 16 by halftime.
In the second half, the group picked up where it led off and got key contributions from Select Team call-ups. With Jayson Tatum out, a collection of youngsters stepped up to provide crucial minutes that helped give the team the 28-point win.
Fans of Team USA had started to grow concerned after the No. 1 ranked team in the world dropped each of its first two exhibition games to Nigeria and Australia. Needless to say, Tuesday’s win was a massive confidence boost for those on the court and those watching on television.
Back on track. pic.twitter.com/tPKwgIhfLx
— USA Basketball (@usabasketball) July 14, 2021
we back pic.twitter.com/gOa8PV9DRf
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) July 13, 2021
USA definitely looks much better tonight vs Argentina.
Zach Lavine made me jump on the couch right before I was going to bed. pic.twitter.com/PYKU6cNCXH
— Marco Pagliariccio (@loupaya) July 13, 2021
Does this romp over Argentina lift Team USA back to the No. 1 ranking in the Americas? Looks like they could win both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
— Ira Winderman (@IraHeatBeat) July 13, 2021
Barreling toward a favorable conclusion for the Americans. Through Q3, Team USA leads Argentina, 81-62. Adebayo and Green really got into the act, as did Cavs’ youngster Darius Garland off the select team.
— Joe Vardon (@joevardon) July 13, 2021
— Dimers.com (@DimersCom) July 13, 2021
Team USA appeared to be more comfortable on Tuesday but it’s difficult to extrapolate much from the exhibition games. With the NBA stars coming off an accelerated 2020-21 season, the coaching staff will be cautious with playing time until the Tokyo Olympics begin. At that point, the national team will need to be primed to win a gold medal.
Team USA will be back in action on Friday in a rematch against Australia, before wrapping up its exhibition schedule against Spain on Sunday.
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