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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Gasol had the first basket of the second half, but Durant dominated the next few minutes as the Americans extended the lead to 60-46. Russell Westbrook scored seven straight later in the period, his steal and dunk making it 69-48 with 4:19 left.Skip to next paragraph
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Spain trimmed it to 12 later in the period, but never had a real shot of getting back into it.
At times it felt like a serious game at Palau Sant Jordi, where nearly every seat was filled well before an energetic pregame ceremony, in which the U.S. national anthem was performed live, instead of the usual recording.
But it also felt like a show, something along the lines of the NBA All-Star game. Navarro was honored before the game for his 200 appearances for Spain, and Dream Teamers Chris Mullin, David Robinson and Clyde Drexler were introduced during a first-quarter timeout. The teams took a photo together after the game as confetti shot out behind them.
The U.S. had a pair of quality tests in Barcelona, beating Argentina 86-80 on Sunday and going 5-0 overall in exhibition play.
"We played against two very tough teams in Argentina and Spain, so I think it made us a better team," Kobe Bryant said. "I think it showed us some things that we want to do differently, some things that we're doing right, and I think because of it we feel pretty good about our chances."
The U.S. and Spain were drawn into opposite Olympic pools, so they wouldn't play until the elimination round. And it's likely to be at the very end of it.
"We know we'll get a different team if we meet them in the Olympics, so this was a one-off game," U.S. guard Deron Williams said. "It doesn't mean anything. It was a good win for us but it doesn't mean anything as far as the Olympics are concerned."
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Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.