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LeBron James (#6) of the United States moves the ball against Carlos Delfino (#10) of Argentina during the men's basketball semifinal game on Day 14 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at the North Greenwich Arena in London.
LeBron James and the U.S. men's basketball team advanced to the gold medal game with a 109-83 victory over Argentina at the London 2012 Olympic Games Friday.
With their semifinal win over the team that knocked them out in 2004, the Americans are now set to play Spain in the final on Sunday.
James and Carmelo Anthony both scored 18 points for the U.S., which was led by Kevin Durant with 19.
James also contributed seven rebounds and seven assists. With the Miami Heat forward doing a little of everything, the Americans finally pulled away in the third quarter from the Argentines, whose strong outside shooting had them within six points at halftime. But the defending bronze medalists eventually cooled off.
Spain claimed its spot in the gold medal game with a 67-59 victory over Russia earlier on Friday.
The U.S. beat Spain for the gold at Beijing in 2008.
The American and Argentinean teams are not strangers to each other. They faced off in pool play, when the US won 126-97, breaking a close game apart with a 42-17 third quarter. Team USA won an exhibition match in Barcelona earlier this summer as well, though Argentina trimmed a 20-point deficit to four before falling 86-80.
This is also the third straight Olympic semifinal meeting between the two. The US won in Beijing in 2008, while Argentina won in 2004 in Athens. Both times the winner went on to take the gold medal.
The Americans were favored heavily, after seeming to figure out Argentina in that third quarter in pool play. "We have maybe a 5 percent chance of winning," forward Manu Ginobili said Wednesday after Argentina topped Brazil in the quarterfinals. "But we are going to fight for that."
"We are playing some good ball right now," LeBron James said Thursday coming off the first U.S. triple-double in Olympic history in Wednesdays win in the quarterfinals. "We are going against a team next that we know, that we are used to playing. They are going to be excited to play us; we are going to be excited to play them, too."
The two teams got chippy in their previous meeting, when Argentina's Facundo Campazzo punched Carmelo Anthony in the groin as he was making a 3-pointer in front of the Argentine bench.
James and Kobe Bryant both said before the Olympics that the current U.S. team could beat the fabled Dream Team of the 1992 Olympics. Their play has backed those claims up so far. Playing against better competition than what the U.S. faced in 1992, Team USA blew away the field in pool play with a 191-point differential, then won by 33 in the quarterfinals.
With one more win Sunday, Team USA has a chance to make its case in one of the great debates of basketball history: LeBron, Kobe and Kevin Durant or Jordan, Magic, and Bird?