Olympics

U.S. men's basketball storms past Argentina, into semifinals

U.S. men's basketball storms past Argentina, into semifinals

RIO DE JANEIRO -- The nail-biters ended for the U.S. Olympic men's basketball team.

So did a golden era of international basketball.

Emphatically stopping a stretch of three straight close games, the Americans advanced to the semifinals by sprinting past Manu Ginobili and Argentina, 105-78 on Wednesday night.

In front of a chanting, flag-waving crowd of Argentines who came to throw a raucous farewell party for their Golden Generation, the Americans delivered their most complete performance in Rio.

"What a remarkable run by Argentina and so we knew we had to match that energy tonight. I thought we did," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.

Turning a slow start into an early ending with a 27-2 run in the first half, the Americans put away one old rival and set up a meeting with another. They will play Spain on Friday in a rematch of the last two gold-medal games. Australia meets Serbia in the other semifinal.

Kevin Durant scored 27 points for the Americans, who had played three straight close games for the first time under Krzyzewski, setting off a round of questions at home and in Rio de Janeiro about what was wrong with them.

The answer might be nothing. At least there wasn't against Argentina.

"We wanted to come out and our whole thing was dominating," forward Carmelo Anthony said.

The Americans eliminated Argentina for the third straight Olympics, this time ending not only a tournament run for the Argentines but also a couple careers.

Ginobili, 39, and longtime 36-year-old teammate Andres Nocioni retired from international competition after the game, 12 years after winning gold in Athens.

"We had a chance to grow up together and do some good things, win some games together. It was fun. It's a lot of years," said Luis Scola, who is also 36 but plans to keep playing. "We formed part of something unique we did for our country and it's going to be there. Sometimes we're not going to win, like today, sometimes we won but we fought together for many years."

Ginobili scored 14 points in his final game in Argentina's blue and white, tearing up after receiving applause from his fans and warm wishes from his opponents.

"They congratulated me and I'm very proud of their words," Ginobili said. "They were very kind, very respectful and when legends of the game showed their respect, it has an extra value."

The Americans have won 23 straight in the Olympics since Argentina beat them in the 2004 semifinals, and this was how they usually do it: too much firepower, too much defense, and way too much talent.

It took a little while to get going, as Argentina opened a 10-point lead. The Argentines made nine of their first 10 shots inside the arc and led 19-9 when Nocioni drilled a 3-pointer. But the Americans finished the first period with a 16-2 run, getting the final six points from DeMarcus Cousins, to take a 25-21 edge to the second.

Three-point plays by Cousins and Jimmy Butler around Durant's 3-pointer in an 11-0 start to the second made it 36-21 before Facundo Campazzo stopped the onslaught with a three-point play.

Cousins, the normal starting center playing as a reserve, finished with 15 points.

Spain beat France 92-67 earlier Wednesday, its fourth straight victory after two losses to open the Olympics. The U.S. edged Spain 118-107 in the 2008 final and 107-100 four years ago in London.

The loudest crowd yet for a U.S. game, featuring boxer Floyd Mayweather and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, was treated to an explosive performance by the Americans, with devastating crossovers by Durant and Kyrie Irving that left defenders helpless and brought teammates to their feet on the bench.

They opened a 25-point lead in the first half and were in control from that point, the first time since their second game in Rio they had it easy.

"We fed off wanting to play better than the last three games," Durant said.

Ginobili, Scola, Nocioni and Carlos Delfino, the remaining Golden Generation players, checked in together for a last run with about 4 minutes left. Argentina fans danced, cheered and completely ignored the crooked numbers on the scoreboard while saying one long goodbye.

Ginobili was replaced a few minutes later, hugging teammates, coaches and after the game Krzyzewski, before returning to the court after the teams had headed to their locker rooms to be presented a game ball by an Olympic official.

Even Argentina's proud veterans didn't consider themselves medal contenders, especially after the Americans blew them out 111-74 in an exhibition game last month in Las Vegas and came to Rio as the overwhelming favorite.

But once play began, the U.S. rarely played up to those expectations, with one narrow victory after another as the competition toughened. The Americans held off Australia by 10, then pulled out three-point victories over Serbia and France.

They were finally in top form Wednesday.

Now they have to stay there two more games.

"We've got to build on it," Durant said, "but we're not satisfied at all."

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

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USA Today Images

Los Angeles reaches deal with Olympic leaders for 2028 Games

LOS ANGELES -- Los Angeles has reached an agreement with international Olympic leaders that will open the way for the city to host the 2028 Summer Games.

City Council President Herb Wesson's office confirmed the deal Monday.

Spokeswoman Caolinn Mejza says the pact is expected to be reviewed by the council later this week.

The agreement to be formally announced later Monday follows a vote earlier this month by the International Olympic Committee to seek a deal to award the 2024 and 2028 Games.

Paris is the only city left to host the 2024 Games.

The arrangement would make L.A. a three-time Olympic city, after hosting the 1932 and 1984 Games.

L.A. and Paris were the last two bids remaining after a tumultuous process that exposed the unwillingness of cities to bear the financial burden of hosting an event that has become synonymous with cost overruns.

L.A. was not even the first American entrant in the contest. Boston withdrew two years ago as public support for its bid collapsed over concerns about use of taxpayer cash. The U.S. bid switched from the east to the West Coast as L.A. entered the race.

But the same apprehensions that spooked politicians and the local population in Boston soon became evident in Europe where three cities pulled out.

Uncomfortably for IOC President Thomas Bach, whose much-vaunted Agenda 2020 reforms were designed to make hosting more streamlined and less costly after the lavish 2014 Sochi Games, the first withdrawal came from his homeland of Germany.

The lack of political unity for a bid in Hamburg was mirrored in Rome and Budapest as support for bids waned among local authorities and the population. It was clear they did not want to be saddled with skyrocketing bills for hosting the Olympics without reaping many of the economic benefits anticipated.

Just like in the depleted field for the 2022 Winter Games which saw Beijing defeat Almaty, the IOC was left with only two candidates again.

With two powerful cities left vying for 2024, Bach realized France or the U.S. could be deterred from going through another contest for 2028 if they lost. Bach floated the idea in December of making revisions to the bidding process to prevent it producing "too many losers," building support that led to L.A. and Paris being able to figure out themselves how to share the 2024 and 2028 Games.

The dual award of the games relieves the IOC of having to test the global interest in hosting the Summer Olympics for several years until the 2032 Games are up for grabs.

Ryan Lochte rushed by 2 men on 'Dancing With the Stars' stage

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AP

Ryan Lochte rushed by 2 men on 'Dancing With the Stars' stage

LOS ANGELES -- Ryan Lochte says he feels "a little hurt" after two men were arrested for allegedly rushing the stage following his performance on "Dancing with the Stars."

The two men, wearing anti-Lochte T-shirts, were arrested on suspicion of criminal trespassing, Los Angeles police spokesman Officer Mike Lopez said.

They had rushed the stage while Lochte was getting his scores from judge Carrie Ann Inaba for his debut performance during Monday night's live installment of the celebrity ballroom dance competition.

"Hey, back off," Inaba said as the altercation was occurring off screen.

When the show returned, "Dancing with the Stars" host Tom Bergeron explained they were interrupted by "a little incident" and thanked the ABC series' security team "for staying in shape."

The two men were detained by security until police arrived to take them into custody, Los Angeles police spokesman Mike Lopez said. He did not have the men's names.

No one was injured or listed as a victim in the incident, Lopez said.

The swimmer told Bergeron that "so many feelings are going through my head right now." Lochte added that he was "a little hurt, but I came out here. I wanted to do something I'm completely not comfortable with, and I did."

ABC did not immediately return messages seeking comment about the incident.

During the episode, the Olympic medalist performed a foxtrot routine with professional partner Cheryl Burke to "Call Me Irresponsible." They received a combined score from the judges of 24 out of 40.

Lochte and teammates have seen scorn from some since they were involved in an early-morning drunken encounter during the Olympics last month at a gas station in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. They later claimed they were threatened and robbed. United States team officials banned Lochte for 10 months, requiring him to forfeit $100,000 in bonuses and miss the 2017 world championships.