Team USA Basketball

USA vs. Australia Score: Performances That Paced 33-Point American Victory

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 08:  (L-R) Kobe Bryant #10 and LeBron James #6 of United States celebrate late in the fourth quarter against Australia during the Men's Basketball quaterfinal game on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 8, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
Ronald Martinez/Getty Images
Ian HanfordFeatured ColumnistAugust 9, 2012

Team USA's 119-86 victory over Australia in the Olympic men's basketball quarterfinals puts them into a semifinal rematch with Argentina on Friday, August 10.

The men's team performed brilliantly against the Aussie group. Their 33-point victory was capitalized by a 19-point advantage in the fourth quarter and was paced by the efforts of several players.

Balance is key to Team USA's roster. They can't lean too heavily on their perimeter game, and they must make sure a multitude of players get involved on both ends.

Wednesday's victory was made possible by many different things, but these performances stood out for Team USA.

 

LeBron James

Let's get "The King" out of the way first. Not only because he's firmly established himself as the world's best player, but because he dominated every facet of this contest.

James dropped a triple-double on Wednesday. It's one of those rare achievements that needs no detail to show how great it was. He dropped 11 points, dished out 11 assists and hauled down 14 boards.

He also had one steal and played very solid defense in his 30 minutes on the floor.

It's hard to get excited about this. Nothing LeBron does surprises me at this point, and it shouldn't shock you either.

He's ridden the momentum from the Miami Heat's NBA title straight into the largest international event in the world. He hasn't disappointed, and Wednesday night's performance just added to it.

 

Kevin Love

Love scored 10 points and hauled down 11 rebounds in 21 minutes off bench action.

He wasn't Team USA's highest scorer off the bench. That honor goes to Deron Williams' 18 points, but he was the only interior presence for the American squad. Tyson Chandler only played nine minutes, and Anthony Davis only saw three minutes worth of time.

Love isn't a physical, back-to-the-basket player, but he has rare touch for a man his size. He also has a fierce nose for the ball, and that makes him tougher in the paint than you might expect.

It's no secret that Team USA revolves around their perimeter players. Anytime they get an effort like this from their power forward, they are incredibly tough to beat.

They could have won without him, but Love's production put the Americans' offense over the top.

 

Kobe Bryant

Bryant didn't do much besides score the ball, but he led Team USA in that department. Kobe's 20 points came on 6-of-14 shooting, and all six of those buckets were from beyond the arc.

Black Mamba didn't have his most efficient night from the floor (43-percent from the floor), but he led a tremendous winning effort. That counts for something every time, especially if you're an NBA Hall of Fame player.

He did have three assists, one rebound and two steals on Wednesday, but Kobe's silky shooting stroke was on the prowl for 20 minutes. He was too much for Australia to handle.

The emergence of James takes the onus off of Bryant in terms of production. Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant do more than their fair share as well. Anytime Kobe is the old Kobe, it's gravy for the United States.

I wouldn't call his game well-rounded, but 20 points are 20 points. Coach K and his teammates will take that every single time.

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