Kobe Bryant breaks out to lead U.S. over Australia

Kobe Bryant passes the ball around the head

Kobe Bryant passes the ball around the head of David Andersen of Australia in the first half during the men's basketball quarterfinal game on Day 12 of the London 2012 Olympic Games. (Aug. 8, 2012) Photo Credit: Getty Images

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LONDON -- All's fine with Kobe Bryant, and the gold- medal hopes of the U.S. men's Olympic basketball team, too.

Bryant silenced his critics and broke open a tight game with six three-pointers in the second half last night as the Americans advanced to the semifinals of the London Games with a 119-86 victory over Australia.

On a night when LeBron James had a triple-double, the story was Bryant's awakening from his Olympic slumber. The five-time NBA champion scored 20 points, flashing three fingers in the air after his third consecutive three-pointer in the fourth quarter had pushed the game well out of reach and proved that, yes, he would deliver the kind of game that's expected of him in London.

"I kind of knew what button to push with him," teammate Carmelo Anthony said. "I was talking to him at halftime and in the third quarter and I guess I pushed the button. He woke up and to see that, I've been on the other side of the ball and had that situation before."

James finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for the Americans, who advanced to their third straight Olympic semifinal meeting with Argentina, which beat Brazil earlier Wednesday. Deron Williams added 18 points, Anthony had 17 and Kevin Durant 14.

Australia scored the first 11 points of the second half, cutting the Americans' lead to three after back-to-back three-pointers by Joe Ingles. The U.S. lead was only six before Bryant finally broke out.

He made a three-pointer, then batted away a pass, chased it down along the left sideline and pulled up for another three that made it 70-58. James followed with a basket that pushed it to 14, and the Americans never let the Australians get much closer.

Argentina 82, Brazil 77: Luis Scola scored 17 points, Manu Ginobili and Carlos Delfino added 16 apiece and Argentina held on down the stretch. Marcelinho Huertas and Leandro Barbosa had 22 points each for Brazil.

Spain 66, France 59: Marc Gasol scored 14 points, brother Pau had two huge blocked shots and Spain held France scoreless for nearly seven minutes. Tony Parker and Boris Diaw each scored 15 points for France.

Russia 83, Lithuania 74: Andrei Kirilenko scored 19 points, Timofey Mozgov added 17 and Russia, dismissed as a medal contender coming into the Games, reached the semis. The Russians advance to play Spain.

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