LeBron James led all scorers with 31 points, the most by an American in an Olympic qualifier.
Michael Redd added 5 points on 2-4 shooting in 18 minutes.
In a tournament full of authoritative victories for Team USA, they managed to save their most impressive showing for the gold medal game. Any lingering questions that arose after Team USA’s convincing but relatively narrow fifteen-point win over Argentina on Friday were quickly answered:
- No, there was no leftover momentum for Argentina after outscoring Team USA in the second half on Friday. Unlike some recent Team USA’s, this one played one game at a time, never dwelling on previous games or overconfidently looking past an opponent.
- Yes, Team USA can effectively keep the pressure on for a full 40 minutes even after accumulating a massive lead. It’s often said that the hardest thing to do is maintain intensity and sharpness after going up big early. On the biggest stage in the tournament against the most dangerous opponent, Team USA stayed in fifth gear throughout, decisively winning all four quarters.
- No, Argentina didn’t lose because they were without regulars like Manu Ginobili and Andres Nocioni. If the missing Argentine stars watched the gold medal game, they must have felt more relieved than regretful that they didn’t play.
- Yes, James was the MVP, not to take anything away from actual winner Luis Scola. He shot .847 from the field and .622 on three-pointers in the tournament. Seriously. He also averaged 18.1 points and 4.7 assists in 22.2 minutes.