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LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 04: Lebron James #6 of United States reacts after making a three point shot against Lithuania during the Men's Basketball Preliminary Round match on Day 8 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the Basketball Arena on August 4, 2012 in London, England. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
The U.S. men's basketball team closed out pool play Monday with a 29-point victory against Argentina.
LeBron James scored 18 points in the win, which followed the 2012 Dream Team's tough matchup against Lithuania on Saturday.
Team USA already locked up a top seed in the medal round with its victory Monday. Kevin Durant scored 17 of his 28 points during the Americans' explosive 42-point third quarter, as they turned a one-point game into a blowout.
"We're great shooting team, but in close games sometimes you've got to go down and get some easy ones, and I wanted the ball, whether it was layups or in the post," said James, who scored his team's first seven points of the quarter. "Once you get a couple easy ones at the rim then the 3-pointers open up and you saw what KD was able to do."
The day before in London, James, said, "We don't come here to lose."
After being pushed to the brink of defeat by Lithuania and winning by just 5 points, James had a prescription for victory against Argentina. "We have to defend and we have to rebound," James said, sounding not unlike his Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
"It's a very good team and we look forward to the challenge. They play as a team and that's what it's all about."
When Lithuania pulled within a point of the U.S. late in the fourth quarter Saturday, James took control. He hit a 3-pointer followed by a dunk off of a turnover to put his the Americans up 92-86.
"You want to get tested," James said after the game. "The best teams want to be tested." Up to this point, the toughest opponent Team USA had faced was the memory of the 1992 "Dream Team," whose shadow still covers the national team to some extent.
James had his first MVP moment in the Olympics, scoring 9 of the Americans' last 12 points, 20 in all. Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski loves having LeBron at his disposal.
"I'm not sure there's ever been an international player like LeBron," Krzyzewski said. "LeBron can actually play and defend all five positions, he's incredibly unique. It's really a luxury to have him."
"I've been kind of doing everything else, which I'm OK with," James said. He has averaged 5.7 points per game in the Olympics, but is also among the team leaders in assists. "I'm here to do all the little things, do whatever this team needs, especially from Coach K's perspective, but like I told you guys, I can also score."
Argentina fell to 3-2 in Olympics play with their loss Monday. The team, which features NBA players Manu Ginobili, Luis Scola, and Carlos Delfino, lost their other game to France, a team which the Americans beat by 17 points.
Argentina will face Brazil in the quarterfinals.
The U.S. plays Australia (3-2) in a quarterfinal game Wednesday.