In London, Team USA individual brilliance outshone Spain
In a physical yet spirited Olympic final, the US overcame a gritty effort by Spain to capture the men's basketball gold medal.
Team USA, continually battling back against a Spanish team that wouldn’t go away, managed to outlast the Spaniards, 107-100, to win the 2012 London Olympics gold medal in men’s basketball yesterday at the Marshmallow.Skip to next paragraph
In Pictures Week Two of the Olympics
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The United States' 109-83 victory over Argentina on Friday night, complete with a 62-43 second half scoring clinic, once again set the stage for the US team’s gold medal game rematch with Spain dating from the US's gold medal victory four years ago in Beijing.
Argentina, down by nine points at the half, allowed the U.S. to get in a scoring rhythm in the final two quarters they could never recover from. Kevin Durant scored 19 points, and LeBron James and Carmelo Anthony added 18 each in a second half run-and-gun, slam dunk exhibition that held fellow NBA star and Argentine guard Manu Ginobili and his teammates all but powerless.
Said Ginobili, “We had a great run in the first half … We started the third quarter well. And then we blinked.”
Sunday’s game was a contrast in styles, as Spain, with brothers Pau and Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, were intent on a grind-it-out in the post strategy, while Team USA countered with its superior athleticism and 3-point shooting. From the start, It was a physical match but was called very tightly – particularly in the first half - where there was a total of 33 fouls called. Both teams were chastened somewhat by the FIBA officials’ close calls; but probably the most critically affected was Spain’s Marc Gasol, who had four fouls with just over six minutes left in the first half. He wound up sitting the rest of the half and all of the third period. This was highly ominous for Spain.