Olympic Basketball 2012: The Precocious Kevin Durant
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
He is No. 5 in your playbook, but No. 1 in your heart. He is Kevin Durant.
Sometimes we need to be reminded that this phenomenal kid is still a kid at 23 years old. For all intents and purposes, Durant should be the third-biggest threat on Team USA behind LeBron James and Kobe Bryant.
Thus far, he is taking a backseat to nobody.
Durant and Team USA vs. France
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
In Team USA's first game, Durant and company took down France 98-71. In 28 minutes, Durant registered 22 points, nine rebounds and was perfect from the free-throw line.
So much for shaking off the rust. Durant sent a clear message in this game that his shoulders are strong enough to carry Team USA in these Olympic games.
Durant Has a Strong Second Performance
Durant too much for Tunisian defenders
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
In Team USA's second game, Tunisia was the unfortunate victim of Durant and others, falling 110-63.
Durant put up a very pedestrian double-double, scoring 13 points and 10 rebounds while being perfect from the foul line for a second game in a row.
At this point in the tournament, you started to get the feeling that Durant was emerging as Team USA's major force and reliable scorer.
The Infamous Nigeria Game
Durant overshadowed by Melo
Kirby Lee-US PRESSWIRE
What can you say about the 156-73 drubbing that Team USA game put on Nigeria that hasn't already been said?
This may have been one of the only nights of the tournament when Durant was rightfully overshadowed by one of his teammates. While he managed to throw in 14 points, the night belonged to an unconscious Carmelo Anthony, who had 37 points.
In Nigeria's case, thanks for coming and hope you packed light.
Look out for Lithuania
Durant imposing his defense
Christopher Hanewinckel-US PRESSWIRE
In a game where Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul couldn't muster any offense, LeBron James saved the day and kept Team USA undefeated by taking over in the fourth quarter.
Durant had an important but relatively quiet 14 points, maintaining his consistent play for a fourth straight game.
Next Up Was Argentina
Durant rises up
Matt Kryger-USA TODAY
Durant and Team USA were coming off of a close game against Lithuania and showed their resolve against a tough Argentina team, winning 126-97.
An Argentina team that featured Manu Ginobili and other NBA players proved to be no threat to Durant, as the phenom showed up in full force.
Durant shot an efficient 9-12 from the field, racking up 28 points to lead the team in scoring once again.
Quarterfinal Game Against Australia
Durant shooting over defender
Mark J. Rebilas-US PRESSWIRE
Kevin Durant continued his machine like double-digit scoring with 14 points, but the story of this night was LeBron James putting up the first triple-double in USA Olympic history.
There was also a Kobe Bryant sighting. He poured in 20 points.
The best part of this story was the outcome. Durant and company won their first elimination game 119-86 and moved on to the semifinals.
Team USA and Argentina Meet Again in Semifinal
Durant poised for Argentina
Bob Donnan-USA TODAY
Kevin Durant dominated Argentina just days ago, dropping five 3-pointers in a third quarter that saw Team USA distance itself for good.
You have to imagine that Manu Ginobili must see Durant in his nightmares these days. Something tells me that he's not looking forward to seeing the Thunder superstar on Friday.
Not only did Durant ruin Ginobili and the Spurs' chance at a 2012 NBA title, he rolled over him and Argentina just days ago.
Look for Durant to take over in Friday's semifinal. Argentina doesn't have an answer for him.
The world is watching to see what Durant has in store for us next.