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Team USA Bounced Back From Two Losses With A Breezy Exhibition Win Over Argentina

The men’s USA Basketball team began its pre-Olympic run in disappointing fashion, to say the least. Gregg Popovich’s squad stunningly lost its exhibition opener to Nigeria, only to follow that up with a less maddening, yet still frustrating, defeat at the hands of Australia. Less than 24 hours after the defeat against Patty Mills and company, Team USA returned to action on Tuesday in Las Vegas and, this time, the results were much better in what became a 108-80 win over Argentina.

Team USA opened up in a much more encouraging way in this particular game, taking a 15-4 lead out of gate. In fact, Bam Adebayo caught a lob dunk for the first points of the day, and that gave the American team a lead they would never relinquish.

The U.S. led by 14 points at the end of the first quarter and, with few exceptions, led by double-digits the rest of the way. While much of the attention was paid to the offensive improvement, they also generated more chaos defensively, using their athleticism advantage to produce deflections and contest shots at a high level.

There were plenty of offensive fireworks, though, including a pair of absurd Zach LaVine dunks. One came just before halftime, with Kevin Durant then following that up with a shake-and-bake bucket in the closing seconds of the first half.

Team USA led by 16 points at the half and, while they could’ve given ground in the third, they did the opposite. The Olympic favorites stretched their advantage to as many as 25 points in the quarter, effectively putting the game away.

Putting a bit of an exclamation on the proceedings, LaVine delivered a memorable dunk in the fourth quarter, even with the outcome largely decided.

While it would be unwise to make too much of a singular performance, Team USA did look the part of a strong squad in this matchup. They shot 51 percent from the floor and 45 percent from three-point range, with all five starters in double figures. No one played more than 30 minutes for Team USA, with Durant and Bradley Beal leading the way with 17 points each and LaVine adding 15 points. Beyond the offense, they held Argentina to just 38 percent shooting while producing six steals and seven blocked shots.

Team USA will return to action on Friday with an exhibition rematch against Australia in Las Vegas. Between now and then, attention will be paid to Jayson Tatum, who missed Tuesday’s action with knee soreness.

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