None of it mattered, though, as the Americans cruised to another gold medal - their third in a row and sixth in the last seven Olympics - with a 96-66 win over Serbia on Sunday.
Two 3-pointers before a steal and dunk pushed the USA lead into double digits, and when he capped what may been the Americans' best possessions in Rio, when they whipped the ball from side to side around the perimeter until it ended up in the hands of Durant, and then in the net. Kevin Durant had a golden performance in leading the team with 30 points for his second gold medal.
After a few close calls earlier in the Olympics, this was no contest.
The only blemish on his otherwise flawless resume is a semifinal loss to Greece at the 2006 world championships.
"I just told them, 'Look at the highest flag, '" Anthony said, "and that's what we did". "I've been really a lucky guy, collegiately and internationally to be part of championship teams". He also broke the all-time scoring, rebound and games played. Clippers' point guard Chris Paul was a member of the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Gold Medal Team.
Throughout the Olympics, stories began revolving that this version of Team USA Basketball wasn't up to par with those of the past.
"I'm hanging these things up, USA Basketball-wise", he said.
Anthony also picked up his third gold to go with a bronze, becoming the most decorated male in Olympic basketball history.
The final was a classic David and Goliath matchup, with basketball superpower the United States, now winners of 15 of the 18 Olympics in which it has participated, going up against tiny Serbia, which was appearing in the Olympic tournament for the first time as an independent nation.
I've seen the losing side and I've seen what it feels like to win three gold medals.
More significantly, Serbia had given the United States their biggest scare in Rio, battling the Americans right down to the final buzzer in a Group A clash that offered up at least the possibility of an intriguing final. The world began to catch up, though, and that was evident in 2000. "I've seen the worst and I've seen the best", he continued, referring to the 2004 Athens Games when the US surprisingly finished with the bronze. "It was about taking the fight to them and I thought we did a great job of doing that tonight".
America were struggling for fluidity but as the first quarter came to a close Durant landed their first three-pointer, giving them a 19-15 lead that they quickly built on. So did the US men's basketball team.
"They are superstars. If you let them play like they want, they will kill you", guard Stefan Markovic said. "He took responsibility for the loss and gave credit to the Greek team and we've built on that. I think we made them (proud)".
For Spain, the silver was its first medal in Olympic women's basketball.
GASOL'S GOODBYE?: Pau Gasol scored 31 points in what might have been his final Olympic game and Spain added a bronze to its collection on Sunday with an 89-88 win over Australia, again denied its first medal inside the rings.