With a 101-81 victory over Argentina, the Redeem Team has advanced to the gold medal game, where they will play Spain late Saturday night on NBC.
The first quarter-plus was as much as a USA basketball fan could ask for. The Americans came out energized and pitiless, using an 18-0 run to jump out to a 21-4 lead before finishing the first quarter up 30-11. Early in the second quarter, the lead grew to 21, plus we got to witness one of the most beautiful things in all the world of sport: Manu Ginobili wincing in (for once, genuine) pain before limping off with an injured left ankle. He awesomely did not return.
Unfortunately, from there on out the Americans played unevenly, turning the ball over and clanking threes, and even allowing the Europe of South America to cut the lead to 6 at one point late in the first half. Only the fact that Team USA is way, way better gave them the win. Why, 20 points is the closest margin of victory for the U.S. in these Olympics. Phew! Close one, right?