The United States women's basketball team got a scare from the Australians on Thursday, but the Americans held on and snuck by the Aussies 86-73. The win secured a place in the gold-medal game for the U.S. and gave the team their 40th consecutive win in the Olympics.
With the women advancing to the gold-medal game, and the men dominating their quarterfinal against Australia 119-86, the Americans are poised to win double gold in basketball once again.
No country can match what the U.S. brings to the court in basketball. Both teams are just too much for opponents to handle. They are too deep, too talented and too focused to fall this time around.
After struggling to distance themselves from the Aussies for three quarters on Wednesday night, the American men turned it on in the final quarter. Kobe Bryant got hot and LeBron James and the rest of Team USA fed him consistently. He finished with 20 points—all in the second half—and knocked down 6-of-10 three-pointers.
The fact that Bryant finally found his shooting touch, combined with James netting the first triple-double by a U.S. player in the history of the Olympics, make the Americans especially scary right now. James finished Wednesday's game with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists in 30 minutes.
Both American teams have passed tests along the way in this tournament. The men are poised to face Argentina in the semifinals on Friday, while the women are already through to the final. Neither should be particularly worried about their next games, but both squads will want to make a statement.
The two American teams this year want to prove they are the best teams ever assembled. As they each cruise to the gold, they will each find themselves firmly entrenched in that discussion.