Team USA hasn't even arrived in London yet, but already the road to a gold medal has been difficult.
Just a week after slipping by Brazil, 80-69 in an exhibition game in Washington, D.C., the Americans had to eke out a win against Argentina, 86-80 on Sunday in Barcelona, Spain.
Kevin Durant led Team USA with 27 points on 10-15 shooting, including 7-10 from three-point range. LeBron James added 15 points and seven rebounds.
I love it. You hate to breeze through exhibition games and then you get into London, and then you start getting competitive, James said.
For the United States, this game was competitive from the second quarter on.
Team USA jumped out to a 31-16 lead after the first quarter and extended that lead to 20 early in the second, but Argentina came fighting back. They went into the break down seven, 47-40.
Carlos Delfino had 15 points for Argentina and Luis Scola had 14.
But it was Manu Ginobili that almost helped the team from South America pull off what would have been a huge upset.
He finished with 23 points, including a crucial run of five straight in the fourth quarter to cut into the Team USA lead, but it was not enough. Despite being outscored by five in the fourth quarter, the Americans held on.
I think we competed, pretty much the whole game, Scola said. We started bad, we've been starting bad this whole preparation. That's going to be a problem for us.
Meanwhile for the United States, a close call like this could help prepare them for London.
We try to come out and put teams away right away, and sometimes it's not going to be that way, like tonight, Carmelo Anthony said. It just wasn't one of those games.
Anthony struggled, scoring four points on 2-8 shooting and picking up four personal fouls.
Team USA will meet Argentina again in the final game of pool play in London. That game will take place on Monday, Aug. 6.