United States grabs gold

King James leads Team USA to 118-81 victory over Argentina

LeBron James laughs while holding the first-place trophy during an award ceremony after Team USA won the FIBA Americas Championship gold-medal game against Argentina on Sunday in Las Vegas.

? LeBron James put a record finish on the Americans’ dominance in the desert.

James scored a team-record 31 points, and the United States beat Argentina, 118-81, on Sunday to win the FIBA Americas championship.

Dwight Howard made all seven of his shots and scored 20 points, and Carmelo Anthony added 16 points for the Americans, who were never challenged while winning 10 games in 12 days and will head to Beijing next summer as one of the gold-medal favorites.

The Americans averaged 116.7 points in the tournament.

The game was largely meaningless, because both teams already had clinched spots in the Beijing field by winning semifinal games Saturday. But the Americans didn’t let up, remaining perfect in four Olympic qualifers, including 7-0 against Argentina.

Sunday’s game was close for six minutes before the United States blew it open with an 18-0 run. The Americans scored the final 15 points of the first quarter, then Chauncey Billups opened the second with a three-pointer for a 38-14 lead.

Puerto Rico beat Brazil, 111-10,7 earlier Sunday in the third-place game.