USA Basketball improved to 4-0 in exhibition play beating Argentina 86-80 Sunday afternoon in Barcelona, Spain.
Kevin Durant led the United States with 27 points and made seven 3-pointers in the game including a dagger with 2:40 left to put the U.S. up 81-74.
Manu Ginobili came right back down with a driving layup after that. Ginobili led Argentina with 23 points in the game.
Chris Paul dribbled down the clock on the next possession then hit another three for the United States sealing the deal on an Argentina team that refused to go away.
The U.S. got out to a huge lead early jumping ahead 16-1 to start the game behind some hot shooting from Durant and Kobe Bryant. Durant made four of his seven threes in the first quarter and Kobe also hit a pair.
Team USA perhaps fell in love with the three a little too much (13-for-34 in the game) allowing Argentina to get back into the game but the end result was never really in question. Team USA has too many options to allow a team to come back on them.
The United States backcourt pressure prowess was less of a factor against a pretty talented Argentina squad that featured some NBA talent in their backcourt. Argentina wasn’t talented enough with their bigs though to really exploit the United States’ lack of size.
Luis Scola scored 14 points for Argentina and Team USA had little trouble containing him although the pesky Scola did get into a little altercation bumping chests with Durant while LeBron James separated the two.
Frustration was high for Scola and Argentina who was playing in just their second exhibition game so far, previously getting blown out by Spain by 20 points a few days ago.
The game was tight enough though that James Harden and Anthony Davis did not play at all for the United States.
Argentina has a history of performing well against the United States in international hoops but that is just history now. This is not the best Argentina team of all-time and they’re not on the same level as Team USA.
Argentina will be in the same pool as Team USA when the Olympics start and is considered their biggest competition in the group.
Team USA will play Spain in their fifth and final exhibition game before the Olympics start Tuesday at 4:30 p.m. EST on ESPN2. Spain is without question Team USA’s biggest obstacle in winning Gold and the game should be as competitive as any we have seen yet for the United States.