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USA vs. Argentina: Kevin Durant Erupts in Third Quarter, Leads U.S. to Victory

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 06:  Kevin Durant #5 of United States gestures while playing against Argentina during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 10 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Basketball Arena on August 6, 2012  in London, England.  (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Christopher AmickCorrespondent IAugust 6, 2012

If you went to get a drink, you might've missed it. 

Kevin Durant scored 28 points, including 17 in the third quarter, leading Team USA to a 126-97 win over Argentina.

It was a tediously close first half again for the Americans, but in the third quarter Kevin Durant went into another dimension.

Durant hit five of his eight three pointers, and LeBron James scored nine points in the third to spark the U.S. rout.

At the half, it was a one-point game, but the efforts of Durant and James were too much. When the third quarter ended, the score was 102-76.

Perimeter shooting has been a weak spot at times for Team USA, but during the third quarter on Thursday night, the Americans found their stroke.

It all started with Durant.

The mega-star hit eight three-pointers on the night, and the rest of the team followed suit. The U.S. made 20 of their 40 attempts from distance.

In the first quarter, the Americans were again sparked by the young combination of Russell Westbrook and Andre Iguodala, but the steady hand of Chris Paul was masterful.

Paul is the only reason that Argentina wasn't ahead at the half. The Clippers' star had 14 points, while also serving as the team's main distributor. He also went on a five-point run by himself with two minutes left in the second quarter.

It was nail-biting first 20 minutes, due to the play of center Juan Gutierrez. He had 11 points, including nine in the first quarter for Argentina.

Argentina has constantly been a thorn in the side of the Americans, and they are the only squad to defeat the U.S. twice since the Dream Team Era began in 1992.

They also beat the Americans en route to a gold medal at the 2004 games in Athens.

Lost in the offensive explosion was the effort of the U.S. defense. After scoring 59 points in the first half, Argentina could only muster 38 points during the second half.

The Americans will battle Australia in the knockout round on Wednesday.

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