USA vs. Spain: A sneak preview of gold medal match?
USA vs. Spain: The Americans basketball team beat Spain 100-78 Tuesday night. These are best two teams in the world and USA vs. Spain is the expected pairing in the Aug. 12 gold-medal game.
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They're still the best two teams in the world and favored to meet again in the Aug. 12 gold-medal game. Spain would have a different look, as Marc Gasol was held out of this one while recovering from a left shoulder injury and backup point guard Sergio Rodriguez also sat out.
It may not matter if the Americans play like this in the games that count.
Spain's players said Monday that while they would try to win this tuneup, the bigger priority was preparing for London. The Americans responded that the Spaniards, playing in front of their home fans, would be compelled to go all out in hopes of a victory.
Spain seemed to be playing for real, but was simply overmatched and the Americans eventually ran away for the victory.
"Well, it was definitely a game that we would have loved to play better as a team," Gasol said. "We made too many mistakes which they capitalized and they played their game. They're a quick unit, very athletic and once they were able to convert a few fast-break opportunities due to our turnovers, it was hard for us."
The Americans, who would have had Howard, Bosh and Blake Griffin on this roster, believe their quickness and versatility will overcome their size problems, and that's what happened in this one.
Spain's size advantage was evident early, especially once Tyson Chandler, the only center on the U.S. roster, went to the bench with two quick fouls.
The Spanish pounded the ball inside to Ibaka, who accounted for three straight Spain baskets on dunks, and the Americans were forced to use a timeout — that never happened 20 years ago when the Dream Team ruled Barcelona — after Victor Sada's jumper made it 22-13 with 1:40 left in the opening period.
But though Gasol and Ibaka had an obvious advantage inside, neither could deal with Anthony on the perimeter. He made five 3-pointers in the first half while often appearing unguarded behind the arc.
He opened and closed a 20-6 burst with 3-pointers as the Americans went from four down to ahead 42-32 with about 3 minutes left in the half. They later went up by 13 before taking a 48-40 lead into the locker room.