The Chicago Bulls will be well represented in the men's basketball semifinals at the Olympics.
Jimmy Butler and Team USA along with Nikola Mirotic and Spain both advanced with quarterfinal wins on Wednesday as both players produced some of their best basketball of the Olympics.
USA Basketball struggled early in the quarterfinals against Argentina but laid the hammer down during a massive second-quarter run that fueled them to a 101-78 victory. Playing his most minutes of the Olympics with over 23 in the win, Butler finished with seven points, four rebounds, four assists and a steal as he went 3-for-10 from the floor. Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant paced the USA with 27 points, seven rebounds and six assists as the Americans are now 6-0 in Rio. Former Bulls forward Andres Nocioni chipped in 12 points in a losing effort for Argentina.
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Spain put together its most impressive showing in Rio in the earlier quarterfinal as they ran past France with a 92-67 win. Mirotic played his best basketball of the Olympics as he led Spain with a team-high 23 points to go along with five rebounds and two steals. Providing Spain with floor spacing, Mirotic finished 5-for-8 from three-point land and was 9-for-15 from the field as he led the team with a little over 26 minutes played.
Butler and Mirotic will face each other on Friday as USA Basketball will play Spain in a highly-anticipated rematch of the last two men's basketball Olympic gold-medal games. The U.S. owns an 11-0 series lead against Spain in men's basketball during international competitions but both the 2008 and 2012 gold-medal games were tight in the fourth quarter. Many expect this semifinal to act as the unofficial gold-medal match with the other side of the bracket being significantly weaker with NBA-caliber talent.