After slow start, Team USA rebounds to blow out Argentina

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After playing below the expectations set for them in wins over Australia, Serbia and France, the U.S. men’s basketball team began knockout round against Argentina looking not only to advance but to also perform better on both ends of the floor.

Things didn’t go as planned at the start however, as Argentina jumped out to a 19-9 lead with point guard Facundo Campazzo getting going early to lead the way. But with Carmelo Anthony getting into early foul trouble and the perimeter defense lacking, Mike Krzyzewski went to a backcourt trio of Kyle Lowry, Paul George and Jimmy Butler. The improved defense sparked by those three, combined with Kevin Durant’s hot shooting, ultimately resulted in a 105-78 U.S. victory.

Next up for the Americans will be Spain, a team playing much better than they were at the start of this competition. Spain has lost to the U.S. in each of the last two Olympic gold medal games.

WATCH: Kevin Durant leads Team USA to men’s basketball semifinals

Durant finished with a game-high 27 points, shooting 9-for-13 from the field and 7-for-9 from beyond the arc. He was one of four players in double figures for the U.S., with Paul George adding 17 points, DeMarcus Cousins 15 and Kyrie Irving 11. But scoring hasn’t been, nor will it be, an issue for the U.S. even with the occasional issue of a lack of ball and player movement. The defense was the problem in those three close victories to end pool play, and the major improvement made there is the big takeaway from Wednesday’s win.

MORE: U.S. knocks off Argentina to advance to semis

Argentina was a good matchup for the U.S. given their lack of a back to the basket post scoring option, but their ability (especially Campazzo) to operate off of ball screens could have been an issue for the U.S. But thanks in large part to Lowry, George and Butler it wasn’t, and their energy on the defensive end of the floor impacted the rest of the team. As a result Argentina shot just 38 percent from the field and 8-for-32 from three, with Luis Scola scoring a team-best 15 points.

Argentina’s loss signals the end of an era for that nation, as Manu Ginobili has played in his final Olympics (Andres Nocioni announced his international retirement following the game). Ginobili was given a curtain call in the game’s final minutes, with fans, teammates and opponents all showing respect to a man who will certainly be a Hall of Fame inductee down the line. And as far as the U.S. is concerned, they owe a debt of gratitude to the “Golden Generation” of Ginobili, Nocioni, Carlos Delfino and Luis Scola.

Ginobili: “I’ve been so lucky”

USA Basketball’s last Olympic defeat came to Argentina in the semifinals of the 2004 Olympics in Beijing, with that sparking a deep look into the program that ultimately resulted in the hiring of Jerry Colangelo and Mike Krzyzewski.

The U.S., now two wins away from a third straight Olympic gold medal, hasn’t lost in Olympic play since.

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships TV, live stream schedule

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Every race of the world Alpine skiing championships airs live on Peacock from Feb. 6-19.

France hosts the biennial worlds in Meribel and Courchevel — six women’s races, six men’s races and one mixed-gender team event.

Mikaela Shiffrin is the headliner, in the midst of her most successful season in four years with a tour-leading 11 World Cup wins in 23 starts. Shiffrin is up to 85 career World Cup victories, one shy of Ingemar Stenmark‘s record accumulated over the 1970s and ’80s.

World championships races do not count in the World Cup tally.

Shiffrin is expected to race at least four times at worlds, starting with Monday’s combined. She earned a medal in 11 of her 13 career world championships races, including each of the last 10 dating to 2015.

Shiffrin won at least one race at each of the last five world championships (nobody has gold from six different worlds). Her six total golds and 11 total medals are American records. At this edition, she can become the most decorated skier in modern world championships history from any nation.

She enters one medal shy of the record for most individual world championships medals since World War II (Norway’s Kjetil Andre Aamodt) and four medals shy of the all-time record. (Worlds were held annually in the 1930s, albeit with fewer races.)

She is also one gold medal shy of the post-World War II individual record shared by Austrian Toni Sailer, Frenchwoman Marielle Goitschel and Swede Anja Pärson.

The other favorites at these worlds include Italian Sofia Goggia, the world’s top female downhiller this season, and the two leading men: Swiss Marco Odermatt (No. 1 in super-G and giant slalom) and Norwegian Aleksander Aamodt Kilde (No. 1 in downhill).

2023 World Alpine Skiing Championships Broadcast Schedule

Date Event Time (ET) Platform
Mon., Feb. 6 Women’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Tues., Feb. 7 Men’s Combined Super-G Run 5 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Combined Slalom Run 8:30 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 8 Women’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 9 Men’s Super-G 5:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 11 Women’s Downhill 5 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 12 Men’s Downhill 5 a.m Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Tue., Feb. 14 Team Parallel 6:15 a.m. Peacock
Men’s/Women’s Parallel Qualifying 11 a.m. Peacock
Wed., Feb. 15 Men’s/Women’s Parallel 6 a.m. Peacock
Thu., Feb. 16 Women’s Giant Slalom Run 1 3:45 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Fri., Feb. 17 Men’s Giant Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Giant Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Sat., Feb. 18 Women’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Women’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 2:30 p.m.* NBC, Peacock
Sun., Feb. 19 Men’s Slalom Run 1 4 a.m. Peacock
Men’s Slalom Run 2 7:30 a.m. Peacock
Highlights 3 p.m.* NBC, Peacock

*Delayed broadcast
*All NBC coverage streams on NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app for TV subscribers.

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Diana Taurasi says 2024 Paris Olympics ‘on my radar’

Diana Taurasi
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Diana Taurasi said immediately after winning her fifth Olympic gold medal in Tokyo that she might try for a record sixth in Paris.

It’s still on her mind 17 months out of the 2024 Paris Olympics.

“It’s something that it’s on my radar,” Taurasi told The Associated Press in a phone interview Tuesday after the first day of a USA Basketball training camp in Minnesota, her first national team activity since Tokyo. “I’m still competitive, still driven, still want to play, I still love being a part of USA Basketball.”

Taurasi will be 42 at the time of the Paris Games — older than any previous Olympic basketball player — but said if she’s healthy enough she’d like to give it a go.

“If the opportunity comes to play and be a part of it, it’s something I’ve always taken a lot of pride in,” said Taurasi, who shares the record of five Olympic basketball gold medals with the retired Sue Bird. “When you get to my age at this point in my career, you just try to win every day. Right now this is a good opportunity to be part of this team moving forward we’ll see what happens.”

She said she would have played at the FIBA World Cup last year in Australia, but had a quad strain that kept her out of the end of the WNBA season.

“I got hurt a little bit before. I had a good conversation with Coach (Cheryl) Reeve and (USA Basketball CEO Jim) Tooley. I felt like I hadn’t played enough basketball to be out there and help,” Taurasi said. “That’s the biggest thing with USA Basketball is being able to help the team win.”

Reeve said Monday that when she succeeded Dawn Staley as head coach a few months after Tokyo, she wasn’t sure whether Taurasi would play for the national team again. That was before her conversation with Taurasi.

“I look forward to having a chance to have her be around and be, as I told her, a great voice,” Reeve said. “Obviously, the competitive fire that she competes with is something that we all do well with.”

In Tokyo, Taurasi started all six games and averaged 18.8 minutes per game, sixth-most on the team (fewer than backup guard Chelsea Gray). Her 5.8 points per game were her fewest in her Olympic career, though she was dealing with a hip injury.

Taurasi is an unrestricted free agent although she is expected to return back to Phoenix where she’s spent her entire career since getting drafted No. 1 overall in 2003.

“Phoenix still has things they need to work out,” the WNBA’s all-time leading scorer said.

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