Facing the second-ranked team in FIBA Men’s basketball, Team USA extended their Olympic record over Spain to a flawless 11-0, taking the gold medal over the Spaniards for the second straight year. These two teams had last meet in a pre-Olympic exhibition in Barcelona a few weeks prior, one which USA knocked off EspaÃ±a easily, 100-78. Now that hardware was on the line, it became a battle ‘til the end, neither team willing to back down.
USA needed a big game from its stars to win this one, and each had to contribute in different ways. Kevin Durant led all scorers with 30 points and guided the team through the first three quarters. LeBron James added 19 and showed dominance in the final quarter. Kevin Love was a factor off the bench, adding nine points and grabbing nine rebounds.
Pau Gasol paced Spain with 24 points and eight boards, but his effort wasn’t nearly enough. USA beat Spain by a score of 107-100.
Team USA saw its lead grow to as large as ten points in the final four minutes of the game, but a couple of careless plays from the U.S. without LeBron James in the game saw Spain close the gap where looked poised to make one last surge. Missed shots and turnovers changed that comfortable coast to the top of the podium into a bit of panic.
Just like that; enter LeBron, exit Spain’s chances.
“U-S-A” chants broke out in London as LeBron found a seam and threw down a wide open dunk, following it up on the next play with a dagger from three, right in the face of a defender. It was the stamp on his 2012 Olympic run, sealing the gold medal for America.
It was the final Olympic game for both Mike Krzyzewski and Kobe Bryant, and the benches cleared to a rousing ovation. Anthony Davis made an appearance in the final 30 seconds, getting his name down in the box score after picking up a foul and grabbing the final rebound of the game.
It’s back-to-back gold for Team USA, and Big Blue Nation was a part of it. Heck of a year for Davis, huh? That image of Davis standing between Carmelo Anthony and Chris Paul on the podium with a gold medal draped around his neck will look great on the wall in the Joe Craft Center. Andrew and Aaron Harrison, did you see that? Andrew Wiggins? You like what you see?