Team USA dominated Australia on Wednesday, winning its 2012 Olympic quarterfinal match 119-86.
The Americans took both of the first two quarters, 28-21. They added another 28 in the third, but their defense slipped, as they allowed Australia to match their 28. Bound to prove that the third-quarter defense was a fluke, they came out and destroyed Australia, 35-16, in the fourth quarter.
Kobe Bryant led the way with 20 points, and six Americans hit double figures in scoring.
LeBron James had a monster game, as he flashed his all-around skills in a way that Team USA has never seen. ESPN points that out:
LeBron's triple double is the first in USA basketball history.— chris palmer (@ESPNChrisPalmer) August 8, 2012
ESPN tweeted some of the numbers at the half:
Team USA leads Australia 56-42 at the half. Deron Williams leads with 13 points. LeBron James has 7 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists.— The NBA on ESPN (@NBAonESPN) August 8, 2012
Not Bill Walton pointed out, in his own unique way, that Kobe Bryant was struggling to get it going:
Kobe is single handedly keeping Australia close! He is playing wonderful defense on #TeamUSA by keeping the ball out of his teammates hands.— Not Bill Walton (@NotBillWalton) August 8, 2012
In Kobe's defense, he got much better as this game went along.
Grades for Key United States Players
LeBron James: A
With the U.S.' lack of size, LeBron James has been asked to handle increased interior duties, and he did so wonderfully in this game. He took only seven shots in this contest and ended with 11 points, but his 14 rebounds and 12 assists made sure his team did not suffer any letdowns.
Kevin Love: B+
Love provided a nice spark off the bench in this game. He had 10 points off of eight shots, and his 11 rebounds were crucial.
Grades for Key Australian Players
Patrick Mills: A
The Australians couldn't have hoped for a better performance from Mills. He faced a never-ending well of talent that America has at guard, and he still produced.
Mills finished the game with 26 points on 20 shots, and he also added six rebounds, two assists and two steals.
Joe Ingles: A
Ingles had his shooting touch rolling. He hit six of his eight shots, and that included going 2-for-4 from beyond the arc.
He finished with 19 points and also displayed his all-around game with eight rebounds and six assists.
Deciding Factor: Rebounds
If a team is going to beat the Americans, it is going to have to take advantage of their lack of size and dominate them on the glass. Australia did not do this, as they were out-rebounded 52-42.
Game MVP: LeBron James
What a difference a year makes. King James has gone from big-moment choker to prime-time finisher. He did a little of everything in this game, and his willingness and ability to do this is the glue holding this team together.
Team USA is on its way to the semifinals for an Aug. 10 matchup with Argentina at 4 p.m. ET. The U.S. easily handled Argentina on Aug. 6, 126-97.