world champions

USA thrashes Spain

Some players flashed their Olympic medals to the crowd. One pretended to take a bite, just to make sure it was real. Yep, it was gold the colour the Americans always used to win.

It was 2008 Beijing final rematch between USA and Spain and even the result was same. This rematch also proved nearly as difficult as their battle in Beijing 4 years ago. USA defended their GOLD medal and world champions tag. USA (8-0) defeated Spain 107-100 to earn USA their 2nd straight gold in Olympics. Spain, who came as underdogs for the gold showed great effort. They played with their full power and physical strength. Most of the players were familiar with each other as they play together in NBA and respected each other a lot. But here they were fighting a war. They were fighting for GOLD medal, fighting for their country. It was a close match all the way till the end. Both teams played with great intensities and showed great urge to win the world champions title. But in the end USA overpowers Spain and thrashed their hope of gold for the second consecutive time. USA team who was even compared to Dream team overcome a valiant Spanish effort to win the Gold medal in London. They did this 4 years ago also when USA team pulled out late for a 118-107 victory that both teams have had 4 long years to think about. Spain’s big man brother duo of Pau and Marc Gasol have been thinking about it and hearing about it since then. USA Basketball’s program is as solid as it’s been in years and arguably ever, courtesy of the commitment of guys like Kobe Bryant, James, Durant, Chris Paul, Carmelo Anthony and others. A second straight gold medal validates everything USA Basketball chairman and managing director Jerry Colangelo and U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski have worked to build since taking over the program after the debacle at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. It would also solidify this group as arguably one of the most impressive collections of U.S. (NBA) stars to compete in Olympic competition that’s as close as we get to the whole This Team vs. The Original Dream Team debate. It was a solid start for USA. They were 8 points ahead after the first quarter  with 35-27 points. There were too many fouls in the 2nd quarter and by the half time there were 33 combined fouls for both teams. Navarro knocked down 4 of his 6 shots from the deep in the first half to lead Spain with 19 points, vintage performance and effort by Captain. By the halftime scores were very close USA 59 and Spain 58. First half was full of drama. Spain rained 3-pointers over the Americans’ heads. Pau and Marc  bullied the U.S. frontline. And after U.S. centre Chandler became entangled with Sergio Rodriguez in the second quarter, the little Spanish point guard stepped up and jabbed his right index finger into Chandler’s face. His message was loud and clear: For all your NBA talent, for all your American Dominance, you will not push us around. By the end of 3rd quarter Spain was all in the game, answering USA blow-by-blow. Pau Gasol was a force. Scoring at will and running the floor and playing the way Lakers fans hope he will all season. But in the 4th and the decisive quarter Spain just lost their way and Big Guns like James, Kobe, and Durant stepped up for USA and took their team to win. Just like in 2008, the Americans finally separated themselves from Spain in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter, holding on for a 107-100 victory that gave them their second straight Olympic gold medal. The player who delivered the most for USA was not on the USA roster in 2008.  Kevin Durant has emerged as one of the biggest NBA stars and he played like one against Spain ending with 30 points and 9 rebounds. James scored 19 points and took 7 rebounds. He joined Michael Jordan as the only players to win the NBA regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP, NBA title and Olympic title in the same year. Kobe Bryant scored 17 points in what could have been his final Olympic game. Mike Krzyzewski coached his final game for Team USA, joining Henry Iba as the only coaches to guide the U.S. to consecutive gold medals. He’ll stay involved with USA Basketball, but has no plans to continue coaching the national team. Pau Gasol led Spain with 24 points. Everyone here knew the obvious: The only team that had any chance of beating Team USA was Spain. From the size of the Gasol brothers and Serge Ibaka to its many shooters, Spain had a formidable roster. From the opening minutes, Spain made clear it wasn’t going to just concede the gold to the USA. USA took Spain’s best punch, but picked them off the floor. The U.S. men have medalled in every Olympics they have played in, including 14 gold medals, 1 silver and two bronze, while compiling a 123-5 win-loss record. The USA has won five of six Olympic titles (1992, 1996, 2000 and 2008, 2012).

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