LONDRES (AP) — Un Kevin Durant en plan intratable anotó cinco triples en el tercer cuarto, cuando Estados Unidos resolvió el encuentro para vencer el lunes 126-97 a Argentina y mantener su paso perfecto en el básquetbol masculino de los Juegos Olímpicos.

Tras una primera mitad que terminó con una magra ventaja de 60-59 para Estados Unidos, Durant salió a resolver el duelo con sus disparos desde detrás del arco para despegar al "Dream Team" por 19 puntos y ya su delantera no volvió a ser cuestionada.

Durant terminó con 28 puntos y Estados Unidos se confirmó como líder absoluto del Grupo A con cinco partidos y cinco victorias. En los cuartos de final se medirá con Australia.

Tras batallar hasta los últimos momentos con Lituania, Estados Unidos ya no sufrió más que dos períodos recibiendo aportes de LeBron James (18 puntos), Chris Paul, 17, y Kevin Love, 13. Fue el único equipo que terminó invicto la primera fase y que ante la inestabilidad del resto de los contendientes parece camino a revalidar el oro que ganó en Beijing.

Manu Ginóbili anotó 16 tantos y Carlos Delfino agregó 13 por Argentina, que avanzó como tercero del sector, con marca 3-2, y enfrentará a Brasil por los cuartos de final.

La primera mitad fue una cerrada batalla en la que Estados Unidos lograba tomar magras delanteras pero Argentina no bajaba los brazos y seguía luchando gracias a un porcentaje de efectividad del 63% en sus tiros de campo.

El primer período terminó con ventaja de 34-32 para Estados Unidos luego de que Durant clavó un triple para sumar 11 unidades, pero Argentina llegó tomar la delantera con un triple de Delfino con menos de un minuto y el marcador al medio tiempo marcó un 60-59 para los estadounidenses.

Después en el inicio del tercero comenzó la lluvia de triples de Durant y el partido se abrió 93-74 antes de que Deron Williams lograra la delantera más amplia del encuentro con otro tiro detrás del arco que puso la pizarra 105-76.

"Brasil tiene buen poderío y podrían estar en semifinales, pero vamos a verlos con todas las ganas y las ilusiones de dar un pasito adelante", dijo el argentino Andrés Nocioni. "A este grupo ya no le queda mucho trote porque puede ser la última oportunidad de llegar a pelear una medalla. Será histórico, aunque aclarando que ya lo que tenemos ganado en la mochila nadie no lo va a quitar".

Argentina busca un tercer podio olímpico luego de ser oro en Atenas 2004 y bronce en Beijing 2008. La primera de esas medallas la ganaron bajo el mando de Rubén Magnano, que hoy dirige a los brasileños.

"Ya nos ha tocado jugar con Rubén, no es algo nuevo, sin duda es especial. Pero más allá de eso, Brasil tiene un gran equipo con grandes jugadores, especialmente en lo alto con (Anderson) Varejao, (Tiago) Splitter y Nene (Hilario) que nos harán la vida imposible si no reboteamos bien", dijo Scola.

Brasil cerró la primera ronda con una victoria 88-82 sobre España, que le permitió terminar segunda en el Grupo B con marca de 4-1, la misma que Rusia, que concluyó primera.

Leandro Barbosa anotó 23 puntos, ayudando a que los brasileños remontasen una desventaja.

La derrota evitó que España enfrentase a Estados Unidos en la próxima ronda.

Pau Gasol anotó 25 puntos, su hermano Marc agregó 20 y Serge Ibaka totalizó 14 para los ibéricos, cuyo próximo rival será Francia, que doblegó a Nigeria 79-73 y figuró segundo en el Grupo A con foja de 4-1.

Rusia perdió 82-80 con Australia y jugará con Lituania, que superó 76-63 a Túnez y terminó con marca de 2-3 en el Grupo A.

Posiciones finales:

Grupo A: Estados Unidos (5-0), Francia (4-1), Argentina (3-2), Lituania (2-3), Nigeria (1-4), Túnez (0-5).

Grupo B: Rusia (4-1), Brasil (4-1), España (3-2), Australia (3-2), Gran Bretaña (1-4), China (0-5).

Cuartos de final (el miércoles 8 de agosto): Brasil-Argentina, Estados Unidos-Australia, Francia-España y Rusia-Lituania.

La final se jugará el 12 de agosto.

___

Carlos Rodríguez está en Twitter como: https://twitter.com/crodriguezap

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