LeBron James tallied the first triple-double in U.S. Olympic history on Wednesday and powered the Americans past Australia 119-86, setting up a date with rival Argentina in the semifinals.
Six U.S. players were in double-figures, led by James’ 11-point, 14-rebound, 12-assists performance. Kobe Bryant dropped a team-high 20 points, including four straight 3-pointers in a 67-second span in the fourth quarter. Deron Williams struggled in the game, shooting 40 percent (4-of-10) from the field overall but hit all seven free-throws giving him a total of 18 points. Carmelo Anthony added 17 points on 50 percent (6-of-12) shooting overall, Kevin Durant chipped in with 14, while Kevin Love rounded out the scorers with his double-double display of 10 points and 11 boards.
Australia was led by NBA guard Patty Mills who poured in a game-high 26 points in the contest. Joe Ingles had a very impressive game for the Boomers scoring 19 points while posting team-high’s eight rebounds and six assists. David Andersen (11) and Brad Newley (10) were also in double-figures.
Durant opened the game with a 3-pointer and both teams sank two treys in the first two minutes to help bring the score to an 8-8 tie at the 8:01 mark. The score was tied again at 12-12 before the USA gained some distance with foul-shots from James, a fast break bucket from Chris Paul, and a three-point play from James that put the USA ahead 19-12 with 4:08 remaining in the opening period. After two scores from Australia, the USA went on a 7-0 stretch and Russell Westbrook added two free-throws to help the USA led maintain a 28-21 advantage.
Durant also opened the second period with a 3-pointer, and the U.S. extended their lead to 12 points, 39-27, when Williams connected from behind the arc at the 7:32 mark. Australia fought back and cut the deficit within eight points several times but Melo responded and sank a 3-pointer with four minutes left in the quarter and helped the Americans outscore Australia 12-6 down the stretch to take a 56-42 lead after the first half of play.
Australia opened the third quarter on an 11-0 run and shrunk USA’s lead to just three points, 56-53, after back-to-back 3-pointers from Ingles. Durant ended the drought for the U.S. with a 3-pointer of his own at the 7:56 mark. Leading 63-58 with six minutes left in the third period, the U.S. went had another scoring spurt when James hit a free-throw, followed by back-to-back 3-pointers from Kobe, and then a three-point play from James to cap off the run which helped restore a 14-point margin. The Americans were up 84-70 heading into the final period.
Australia trailed 96-80 in the fourth quarter before Bryant put the nail in the coffin by knocking down four consecutive 3-pointers in a 67-second span. The USA cruised down the stretch and secured the 119-86 victory.
The United States advance to the semifinals where they will face off against Argentina on Friday at 4:00 PM (ET). Winner goes to the gold medal final.