Basketball: U.S. answers critics with blowout win over Argentina

Wed Aug 17, 2016 9:26pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The United States reaffirmed their status as gold medal favorites on Wednesday with a devastating 105-78 defeat of Argentina to storm into the semi-finals of the Olympic men's basketball tournament.

Even though the United States were the only team to finish group play without a loss, questions about their ability to claim a third straight gold swirled after three unimpressive narrow wins to close out preliminary play.

'What was wrong with the United States?' basketball fans asked.

The answer? Nothing.

"We got our swagger back, offensively and defensively," declared Paul George to reporters after the United States ran their Olympic winning streak to 23 games.

With the United States looking vulnerable, the fourth ranked Argentines came into the quarter final thinking 'upset'. After all, they had done it before.

With a 135-5 record in Olympic competition, losses are rare at the Games for the United State but Argentina can claim one of them.

It came on the same stage 12 years ago at the 2004 Athens Olympics when Argentina beat the Dream Team in the semi-finals and then went on to take the gold.   Continued...

Aug 17, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;  USA guard Kyrie Irving (10) loses control of the ball against Argentina point guard Facundo Campazzo (7) during the men's basketball quarterfinals in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. Mandatory Credit: USA TODAY Sports