U.S. men's hoops plays Argentina for spot in final

The dream is still alive, for the U.S. men's basketball team.

The heavily favored American hoopsters -- referred to, like past Olympic squads, as the Dream Team -- used a balanced effort Friday night to defeat Argentina 109-83 and advance to Sunday's final.

Kevin Durant, the reigning NBA scoring champ from the Oklahoma City Thunder, led all players with 19 points. He was followed closely by the Miami Heat's LeBron James, the three-time NBA MVP who chipped in with 18 points, seven assists and seven rebounds.

The Argentina is no slouch, boasting NBA stalwarts Manu Ginobli, Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino. But they were no match for the U.S. team, which was ahead five points after the first quarter and steadily pulled away thereafter, especially in the second half.

They'll vie for Olympic gold Sunday against Spain, led by Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers. In their semifinal match-up Friday, Spain trailed Russia 31-20 at the half and pulled to a 46-46 tie after three quarters, then ran away with the game late to win by a 67-59 score.

The U.S. men won't be alone, in trying to stand atop the Olympic podium this weekend. The American women's basketball team has already made it through to the gold-medal final, which they'll play against France on Saturday.


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