James had a basket and drove for a powerful dunk while being fouled. Durant followed with consecutive 3-pointers, James tipped in a miss, and suddenly the lead was 19, 72-53, with 1:30 left in the period.
“We had a great run in the first half,” Ginobili said. “We started the third very well. And then we blinked.”
It became a runaway in the fourth when Anthony hit three 3-pointers in 42 seconds, the American bench spilling onto the floor as he strutted back to midcourt after the last one made it 93-64.
Otherwise, there was little celebrating for the Americans during or after the game.
The party they want can’t come until Sunday afternoon.
“It’s been a fun ride, but we want to compete on Sunday,” forward Kevin Love said.
The U.S. beat Spain 118-107 in the Beijing final, pulling away after leading by just four with about 2½ minutes left. The Spanish are ranked second in the world behind the Americans, and have much more size with brothers Pau and Marc Gasol.
“We’ll have a difficult challenge with Spain because they’re really big. But they’ll have a challenge with us, too,” U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
Bryant finished with 13 points, hours after seeing his chances strengthen for another title with the Los Angeles Lakers.
This glowing group of bright stars couldn’t even make basketball’s biggest news Friday, that coming when Orlando finally traded All-Star center to Dwight Howard to the Lakers in a four-team deal. U.S. swingman Andre Iguodala was part of it, getting sent from Philadelphia to Denver.
Howard was supposed to be here, forced to pull out because of back surgery. Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh and Derrick Rose also were lost to injuries.
The Americans seem just fine without them.
The climb back to the top of the basketball world after Argentina beat them in the 2004 semifinals was a difficult one for the Americans.
Staying there seems inevitable.View Entire Story
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