Team USA Basketball 2012: 5 Most Impressive Individual Performances so Far
Every player on Team USA is considered as one of the best players in the entire tournament.
Each player is capable of putting up huge numbers in a variety of ways.
Some players can score at will, while others are known for their tremendous defense and ferocious rebounding.
It’s hard for any one player to really break out with all of the talent the Americans have on their roster, but some have found a way.
Here are the five most impressive individual performances for Team USA during the Olympics so far.
5. LeBron James vs. Lithuania
Accomplishment: Nine Points in Final 3:58 of the Game
Entering the four-minute mark of the fourth quarter against Lithuania, Team USA was only up by a single point.
This is when LeBron James decided to take matters into his own hands.
“The King” hit a three-pointer and then threw down a vicious dunk on the very next play after a Chris Paul steal led to a fast break.
He was not done there though, as James hit two more baskets down the stretch to ice the game.
This was the first time during the Olympics that James looked like he wanted to score more than he wanted to pass.
It paid off for his team, as James finished the game with 20 points and Team USA went home with the W.
4. Kevin Durant vs. Argentina
Accomplishment: 28 Points, Shot 8-10 From Three
Everyone knows Kevin Durant can shoot the ball, but he put on a clinic against Argentina.
Think about this, Durant scored 28 points while only attempting 12 field goals and four free throws.
Throughout the entire 2011-12 NBA season, including the playoffs, in games Durant had between 26 and 30 points, his average for field goal attempts plus free throw attempts was just about 27.
It is nearly impossible to score 28 points while taking that few shots, unless you take almost all threes and knock almost all of them down, like Durant did.
His performance will go down in history as one of the best shooting games in Olympic history.
3. Kobe Bryant vs. Australia
Accomplishment: 20 Points in the Second Half
Just when the critics were starting to call out Kobe Bryant for underperforming during the Olympics, he showed up in a BIG way.
After another quite half, Kobe caught fire like we’ve seen him do countless times throughout his career.
He got that look in his eye that only the Black Mamba gets and just started draining three-pointers from every spot behind the arch.
Everyone in the arena knew Bryant couldn’t miss, and his teammates just started feeding him the ball every time down the court.
Australia was hanging with the Americans until this point, but Bryant quickly put the game out of reach.
2. LeBron James vs. Australia
Accomplishment: Triple-Double, 11 Points, 14 Rebounds, 12 Assists
LeBron James has been trying to play an all-around game all tournament long, but none was better than his performance against Australia in the quarterfinals.
From the opening tip, James looked like he meant business. In the first quarter, James only scored two points, but dished out three assists and pulled down six rebounds.
The second quarter brought much of the same, with James dishing out a few more assists and reaching 10 rebounds before the game even got to half time.
His second half was loaded with more assists and rebounds with a few baskets sprinkled in between.
By the end of the game, James was able to complete his triple-double, the first one in Team USA’s storied history in the Olympics. Not even the legend Michael Jordan can say he’s had that complete of a game during the Olympics.
1. Carmelo Anthony vs. Nigeria
Accomplishment: 37 Points, Shot 10-12 From Three
It’s hard to really put into words how amazing Carmelo Anthony played against Nigeria.
If you didn’t watch it live, you can’t quite understand how it feels to just know the ball was going to go in the basket every time it left his hands.
Players have hit that many three-pointers in a game before, but no one has ever done it at the rate Melo was hitting them against Nigeria.
In NBA history, four players have hit over 10 three-pointers in a game; Kobe Bryant and Donyell Marshall each have hit 12, and Dennis Scott and J.R. Smith have each hit 11. None of those players played less than 28 minutes during that game where they hit so many threes.
Remarkably, Melo only played 14-and-a-half minutes against Nigeria and still managed to knock down 10 three-pointers for a total of 37 points.
This point total was by far the most points ever scored by a single player on Team USA during the Olympics.
This was one of the most phenomenal games a basketball player has ever had. No one who watched that shooting display will ever forget it.