The U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team beat Argentina 86-80 in its second-to-last exhibition game before the London Games as Kevin Durant scored 27 points.
Durant, of the National Basketball Association’s Oklahoma City Thunder, hit 7 of 11 three-point shots for the U.S., which raced to a 16-1 advantage and led by 20 points with 3:01 left in the third quarter yesterday in Barcelona.
Manu Ginobili of the San Antonio Spurs helped Argentina pull within four points, 78-74, with 2:50 left before Durant made his seventh three-pointer to help the U.S. hold on for the victory. Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers added 18 points for the defending gold medal winners, while LeBron James of the Miami Heat had 15 points and seven rebounds.
“We started off pretty well,” Durant said in comments distributed by USA Basketball. “Argentina did a great job of slowing the game down, making the right passes and penetrating and executing. So it was a good game for us. We learned a lot.”
The U.S. improved to 4-0 on its pre-Olympics tour and will play Spain tomorrow in Barcelona, the site of the gold medal performance by the so-called “Dream Team” at the 1992 Olympics. The Americans wore 1992 USA Basketball retro jerseys in yesterday’s game, which was a preview of a Aug. 6 preliminary game against Argentina at the London Olympics.
The U.S. opens its preliminary round schedule July 29 against France before facing Tunisia, Nigeria, Lithuania and then Argentina.