USA put away stubborn Australia09/08/2012 -
The Americans proceed to the Olympic tournament quarterfinals after beating Australia 119-86
Team USA beat Australia Wednesday night to proceed to the next step of their road to gold in London 2012. The Americans had Kobe Bryant in a big form as he scored 20 points, all of them in the second half, with 6 three pointers while Lebron James made the first triple-double for an American player in this tournament.
Bryant apparently woke up Wednesday night to deliver a game expected of him by his teammates and coach, worthy of his class. And while he started silent against Australia, scoring no points during all first half, he was about to give the answer to the questions he has been hearing throughout the Olympic tournament. "Somebody made him mad. I could see it in his eyes," Kevin Durant said. "I wanted him to kind of turn it on and that's what he did."
James finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for the Americans, who advanced to their third straight Olympic semifinal meeting with Argentina, which beat Brazil earlier Wednesday. Deron Williams added 18 points, Anthony had 17 and Durant 14.
Bryant never had an offensive rhythm in London games so far and wasn’t much needed as he averaged 9.4 points per game while his team won big in the group stage. The game started for him with a 0-4 from the field, all of which tree point attempts, and Bryant went to the dressing room without a point at halftime.
That was about to change in the second half.
Bryant got himself going after Australia scored the first 11 points in the second half, cutting America’s lead to just 3 points after back-to-back three pointers by Joe Ingles. Bryant made a 3-point shot, then chased down the ball after blocking a pass and pulled up to make another 3-pointer. James followed with another basket that pushed the lead to 14, and the Americans never left Australia get close enough again.
Patty Mills scored 26 points for Australia and Joe Ingles added another 19. Australia had the misfortune of playing against USA for a second straight time in the Olympic tournament quarterfinals.
First half of the game was full of physical contact with the Americans taking hits but also giving some back, most remarkable the one that sent Australia’s David Barlow to the bench with a bloody nose.
Kobe Bryant insists that he is happy to take a lesser role in this USA team with the much younger scorers, like James, Durant and Anthony, carrying the load. Despite that, Bryant showed that he can give the boost needed sometimes and although years passed, he can still do serious damage. Should team USA have problems against Argentina in their next game, Kobe can still put up a shot or two to send America back to the top.