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London 2012, Gold Medal Game: August 12
The United States of America conquered their 14th Olympic gold medal by downing Spain 107-100 in the final in London, Great Britain on Sunday afternoon. Just as in Beijing 2008, USA finished the tournament undefeated but Spain led several times throughout the game and forced its opponent to give nothing but its best to get the gold medal. Kevin Durant led the winners with 30 points. Lebron James added 19, Kobe Bryant had 17 while Chris Paul got 11 for USA. Pau Gasol led Spain with 24 points. Two-time Euroleague champion Juan Carlos Navarro of FC Barcelona Regal added 21, Marc Gasol 17, former Euroleague Rising Star Rudy Fernandez 14 and Serge Ibaka 12. Navarro struck three times from downtown to give Spain an early 7-12 lead. USA found ways to beat the Spanish zone defense, as three-pointers by Bryant, Anthony and Durant allowed their team to get a double-digit lead, 35-25. A huge alleyoop slam by Fernandez brought Spain within 35-27 after 10 minutes. A three-pointer by Sergio Rodriguez of Real Madrid soon gave Spain a 37-39 edge. Kevin Love and James stepped up for USA but Fernandez and Ibaka kept Spain within 59-58 at halftime. An outstanding Pau Gasol allowed Spain to regain the lead, 64-67, right after the break. Bryant and Durant tried to change things for USA but Spain stayed within 83-82 after 30 minutes. USA improved its defense early in the fourth quarter, as Bryant and Paul allowed their team to break the game open, 97-91. James shined in crunch time to seal the outcome down the stretch.
Tyson Chandler got USA going with a layup, as Spain tried a zone defense early in the game. Navarro quickly answered with an outstanding four-point play but Durant answered from downtown for a 5-4 USA lead. Pau Gasol sank a jump hook that Durant matched with an off-balance shot. Navarro nailed his second triple and soon added his third one to give Spain a 7-12 margin. Bryant struck twice from downtown in a 0-8 USA run but Navarro kept Spain within 15-14. Anthony joined the three-point shootout and Durant allowed his team to get a 20-16 edge. Anthony banked in a mid-range shot and added a catch-and-shoot triple to boost the US lead to 25-16. Pau Gasol, Navarro and Ibaka hit free throws to keep Spain in the game, 28-21. Love shined with a dunk and a jumper by Russell Westbrook kept his team way ahead, 32-23. Pau Gasol sank a jumper that Durant bettered with a corner triple to make it a double-digit game, 35-25. Rodriguez connected with Fernandez for a wild alleyoop dunk that brought Spain within 35-27 after 10 minutes.
Fernandez swished a three-pointer early in the second quarter and a driving layup by Pau Gasol got Spain even closer, 35-30. USA struggled against the Spanish man-to-man defense and free throws by Rodriguez made it a one-point game, 35-34. James dunked it but a rainbow turnaround jumper by Marc Gasol and a three-pointer by Rodriguez completed the Spanish comeback, 37-39. Love stepped up with a tip-in and Durant provided another lead change, 41-39. Former All-Euroleague guard Sergio Llull buried a corner triple and Marc Gasol scored down low to make USA call timeout at 43-44. Spain had entered the foul penalty and switched back to a 2-3 zone defense. Meanwhile, Love led a 7-0 US run that gave his team a 50-44 edge. Navarro hit a seven-meter bomb and free throws by Fernandez kept Spain as close as 50-49. James shined with consecutive baskets and Williams bettered Navarro's coast-to-coast layup with a three-pointer. Spain didn't panic, however, as Fernandez and Ibaka allowed Spain to reach halftime with a 59-58 deficit.
Paul buried a three-pointer right after the break and Durant hit foul shots but Pau Gasol quickly answered with a jump hook, added a three-point play and dunked it in transition to give Spain a 64-65 edge. USA did not find answers in offense and a power basket by an unstoppable Pau Gasol made it a three-point gane, 64-67. James scored in penetration and a dunk by Bryant tied it at 68-68. James send all USA fans with an alleyoop dunk but a layup-plus-foul by a red hot Pau Gasol restored a 70-71 Spanish lead. Bryant kept pacing USA with a triple and a fallaway jumper by Durant gave his team some fresh air, 75-72. Bryant made free throws but a close basket by Ibaka and a layup off a steal by Rodriguez made it a one-point game, 77-76. Durant took over with a three-pointer but a dunk by Pau Gasol and a jump hook by Ibaka tied it at 80-80. Durant insisted from downtown but free throws by Ibaka kept Spain within 83-82 at the end of the third quarter.
James and Llull traded layups early in the fourth quarter but a three-pointer by Paul gave USA an 88-84 edge. Paul kept leading USA with another basket, forcing Spain to call timeout, 90-84, with 8 minutes left. Marc Gasol scored in the paint but Durant answered from downtown to force Spain to call timeout, 93-86, with over 6 minutes to go. Bryant hit free throws, as Spain kept struggling to score right when it mattered most. Pau Gasol split free throws and Bryant banked in a fallaway shot to restore a double-digit US lead, 97-87. Navarro hit a running shot and Fernandez added a tip-in to keep Spain in the game, 97-91, with over 3 minutes left. USA called timeout and James stepped up with a dunk. Marc Gasol shined with a slam but a three-pointer by James sealed the outcome, 102-93, with 2 minutes left. Nothing changed from that moment, as even when Spain never gave up, it was too little, too late for the reigning EuroBasket champions.
Sunday, August 12, 2012
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2012 Olympics men's basketball: July 29 to August 12
London 2012, Bronze Medal Game: August 12
London 2012, Semifinals: August 10
London 2012, Quarterfinals: August 8
London 2012, Preliminary Round, Game 5: August 6
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