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Durant leads USA into semis as Parker and Ginobili bow out

The Americans march on.

nited States' Kevin Durant, left, reacts with teammates on the bench during a quarterfinal round basketball game against Argentina.
nited States' Kevin Durant, left, reacts with teammates on the bench during a quarterfinal round basketball game against Argentina.
Image: Charlie Neibergall

SAN ANTONIO SPURS stars Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili both ended their international careers in Rio on Wednesday following heavy defeats in the quarter-finals of the Olympic Games.

The 34-year-old Parker scored 14 points but could not stop France from losing 92-67 to a Spain team led by his new Spurs team-mate Pau Gasol.

Ginobili and Argentina – gold medallists in 2004 – could not repeat their shock semi-final win over the United States from 12 years ago, going down 105-78.

And with that, two of the men who helped raise the standard of international competition for the last two decades are now out of the picture.

Spain will play against the USA on Friday while Australia, who beat Lithuania 90-64, take on Serbia after their 86-83 win over Croatia.

Highlight of The Night

After falling behind 19-9 early in the first quarter, the USA came out with a vengeance and led by 16 points at half-time. Kyrie Irving, known for his amazing dribbling ability, made quick work of an Argentina defender three times before converting an easy layup.

MVP of The Night

Kevin Durant looked every bit the MVP he has been in the NBA, scoring 27 points, grabbing seven rebounds and dishing out seven assists in an easy win.

Quotes of The Night

USA coach Mike Krzyzewski on Manu Ginobili:

“A hall of fame player, a hall of fame competitor … as fierce a competitor that I, as a coach, have faced in my entire time in international basketball. There really has been nobody completely like it. He’s not a position. He plays all positions and with the heart and commitment that he’s had for his country, no one could have represented his country at a higher level or better than Manu Ginobili. It was an honour to always compete against him. Ultimate respect from all of us from our whole contingent to Manu.

Kyrie Irving on the differences between the quarter-finals and group-stage play.

“I don’t want to say the team was different, I just think the magnitude of what was at stake was a lot higher. We understood that and we understand that we have to play our best games now. The past is the past. Our moment right now is the only thing that matters and we took care of that tonight.”

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Looking Ahead

Serbia and Spain and the USA and France will do battle in the women’s semi-finals on Thursday.

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