Before the Olympics in Rio, it was expected USA Basketball and Spain would be matched up in the gold medal game for the third straight time. After a slow start to the Olympics, the Pau Gasol-led Spaniards have turned it on the past few games, blasting past France earlier on Wednesday. George was next in line with 17 points (on 8 of 14 shooting) and 8 rebounds. “We understood that and we understand that we have to play our best games now”.
“They have played together for a while, so they have some experience”, USA guard Paul George said.
Kevin Durant led Team USA with 27 points, including 7-9 from three point range to pace the winners. Durant was on fire offensively, scoring 27 and hitting seven of nine three pointers, but he had his best game defensively as well, feeding off the energy from the wing defenders.
And even though the Americans won big in the quarters, Charles Barkley’s argument that, “If you take away DeAndre Jordan, every guy on that team is a ball-dominant guy; you see them playing a lot of one-on-one basketball”, wasn’t exactly disproven Wednesday.
It’s impossible to tip against the U.S. – they are the best team in the world but Argentina could trouble them.
USA’s brilliant passing and teamwork – on display when they set an Olympic record for assists in their final group game against China – was thrown out of whack by the game’s herky-jerky style. “We’ve had great, great games against them and we anticipate another great game on Friday”. When I was on the perimeter I tried to beat my man.
“I wouldn’t call it relief, I just think we are evolving”, said USA coach Mike Krzyzewski. They won all 5 games in preliminary play, coming out on top of group A, but not without a couple close calls along the way.
Center DeAndre Jordan almost tore down the backboard, sending down this lob with two hands.
“We have ultimate respect for Spain”, head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. Klay Thompson busted out of a massive Olympic slump in the pool play finale, going for 30 points against France, but returned to his shooting slumber during the opener of the medal rounds.
The game will feature a number of current or former National Basketball Association players from both sides including team leaders and past National Basketball Association champions Pau Gasol, Spain’s center, and French point guard Tony Parker.