London 2012 Medal Count: Team USA Basketball Closer to Gold After Win

Steven Slivka@@StevenSlivkaCorrespondent IIIAugust 9, 2012

Kobe Bryant and LeBron James led Team USA in Wednesday's rout of Australia.
Kobe Bryant and LeBron James led Team USA in Wednesday's rout of Australia.Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

With less than nine minutes remaining in the third quarter, Team USA held a three-point lead over Australia.

Over the course of the next 19 minutes, the Americans did what they've done all tournament long by destroying their opponent as the game winded down.

A 119-86 victory on Wednesday earned Team USA a spot in the semifinals against Argentina.

LeBron James notched a triple-double in the contest and Kobe Bryant looked like the Kobe that had a mini-fro and wore the No. 8 jersey.

Bryant finished with 20 points in 20 minutes and helped the Americans extend their Olympic winning streak to 15 games.

The five-time NBA champion scored all 20 of his points in the second half, including six three-pointers.

As of now, the United States leads all nations with 81 total medals, and with another solid showing against Argentina, the gold medal gets even closer.

Still, the Americans have been inconsistent in these Olympics.

They've started out slow in a number of games, and Wednesday's win was no different.

They handled the French and the Spanish. They made the Nigerians look like a high school junior varsity squad, then escaped with a five-point victory over the Lithuanians.

 

Another sluggish start against Australia saw the Americans face a reality check as they only held a three-point lead in the third quarter.

Even though their wins haven't all been impressive from start to finish, they have still gotten the job done for their first six games of the tournament.

Now hungry for payback, the Manu Ginobili-led Argentina squad anxiously awaits their chance to pull off an upset of epic proportions.

With several NBA players playing for Argentina (Luis Scola, Carlos Delfino), there is always the possibility of Team USA getting another scare.

Although Team USA was expected to blow the competition out of the water, they've given reasons to believe that they are beatable.

However, with only two wins separating the team from a gold medal, the Americans will play their best basketball of the tournament over the next couple days.

Don't count on an 83-point drubbing like Team USA doled out against Nigeria; that performance was a once-every-blue-moon performance.

The Americans can't afford to start out slow against an Argentina squad that would love nothing more than to spoil Team USA's dream.

After outscoring Australia 63-33 during the last 19 minutes of their quarterfinal game, the Americans have the momentum.

It's time for Team USA to capture the dream.

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