Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James lead U.S. into gold medal game at 2012 London Olympics
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LONDON -- LeBron James turned away from his teammates gathered in the center circle and waved to the fans as if to say: "See you Sunday."
Right where the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team always expected to be -- in the gold-medal game against Spain.
"Anything less than this would have been unsatisfying for us," Carmelo Anthony said. "We believe that we could get here, and we're here now. We got one game left."
Kevin Durant scored 19 points and James and Anthony added 18 each as the U.S. beat Argentina for the second time in three games, 109-83, in the semifinals Friday night.
"I think it's only right," James said of the gold-medal game against Spain, a rematch of the Americans' victory four years ago for the gold medal in Beijing. "Everyone said that this is the game they wanted to see. We look forward to it. We're happy as a team we're able to be back in this position. We've got to defend, we've got to rebound, we've got to share the ball."
The Americans have said they believe this team is better than the 2008 squad, and they certainly are more potent. "You have three scorers on this team who get blistering hot if they make two shots in a row," Kobe Bryant said. "I've never seen anything like it."
Manu Ginobili scored 18 for Argentina, which will play Russia for the bronze medal Sunday.
In the third straight Olympic semifinal between the teams, Argentina hung around until early in the second half. Then the Americans produced a wave of dunks and three-pointers that turned it into a romp.
The Americans led by four after Ginobili opened the third quarter with a three-pointer, but Durant hit four three-pointers as the U.S. extended its lead to 72-53 with 1:30 left in the quarter. Anthony hit three three-pointers in 42 seconds to make it 93-64.
"We had a great run in the first half," Ginobili said. "We started the third very well. And then we blinked."
In the Beijing final, the U.S. beat Spain, 118-107, after leading by four with 21/2 minutes left. Said U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski, "We'll have a difficult challenge with Spain because they're really big. But they'll have a challenge with us, too."