LONDON, England - A triple-double from LeBron James (Miami Heat) and 20 points from Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), including four straight 3-pointers in a 67-second span in the fourth quarter, helped the U.S Olympic Men's Basketball Team (6-0) overpower Australia (3-3) 119-86 to advance to the semifinals of the 2012 Olympic Games on Wednesday night at the North Greenwich Arena in London, England.
The USA will face Argentina (4-2), which topped Brazil (4-2) 82-77 to advance, in the semifinals at 9 p.m. (4 p.m EDT) on Aug. 10. The USA previously beat Argentina 126-97 in its final preliminary round game on Aug. 6, as well as in exhibition play, 86-80, on July 22 in Barcelona, Spain.
"We knew that we were going to play a very athletic, quick, well-coached team in Australia, who were coming off a couple of big wins," said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University). "They pushed the ball down the court against us well. I thought we played well in the first half, except for we didn't get back sometimes and they got about 10-12 points in transition.
"We got off to a horrible start in the second-half, and I am proud of my guys because we were playing well in the first-half, got that bad start and then they played great. The offensive rebounding was a key factor. Kevin Love had eight offensive rebounds and our defense picked up. Kobe made a couple big defensive plays that went to the offensive end, and we kind of exploded there," added Coach K.
James finished with 11 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists for the first triple-double in U.S. Olympic history (since assists were kept as an official statistic in 1976), and his 12 assists tied the U.S. Olympic single-game high. Additionally, shooting 19-of-46 from 3-point, the USA tied its U.S. Olympic record of 46 3-point attempts, which it set on Aug. 2 against Nigeria.
While the final score was a 35-point blowout, Australia was down by just 14 points at the start of the fourth quarter. Three of Bryant's four 3-pointers came off of assists from James.
"I'm proud of the win, that's all that matters to me," James said. "I don't really care about me statistically. The win is more important; I'm happy to be able to move on."
Rounding out five U.S. players in double digits were Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets) with 18 points and 7-of-7 shooting from the free throw line; 17 points from Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks); 14 points from Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder); and a 10-point, 11-rebound double-double from Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves).
"On this team you really get a lot of easy shots because you play with a lot of really good players," said Bryant who connected on 6-of-10 3-pointers in the game. "I just found myself in a really good rhythm with some daylight to shoot the ball, and they were going in for me."
Complete stats, box scores and quotes available at www.usabasketball.com
Courtesy USA Basketball