Four Years Later, Same Result; Team USA Wins Gold

By A.J. Speier

Four years ago, Team USA defeated Spain in a tightly contested game to win the gold medal and on Sunday, Spain ended up falling short yet again.

Team USA led 35-27 at the end of the first quarter, but Spain answered back in the second quarter and Team USA took a 59-58 lead into halftime. Kevin Durant had a team-high 12 first quarter points and Spain’s Rudy Fernandez had a team-high 10 second quarter points.

Coming out of halftime, Pau Gasol scored Spain’s first 13 points, but his effort wasn’t enough to establish more than a one-possession lead and Team USA led 83-82 heading into the final quarter. Spain’s Pau Gasol had a team-high 15 third quarter points while Team USA’s Durant had a team-high 10 third quarter points.

“We knew it wasn’t going to be easy. We didn’t want it easy,” LeBron James said. “A lot of teams have won gold easy. We didn’t want it that way. We’re a competitive team, and we love when it gets tight. That’s when our will and determination kind of shows. It was the same way in ’08.”

In the fourth quarter, Team USA started off strong with a 14-5 run and led 97-87 with 4:27 left in the game. Spain struggled in their comeback attempt as Marc Gasol ended up scoring his team’s final nine points in a 107-100 victory for Team USA over Spain, giving Team USA their second straight Olympic Championship title.

“To do it twice is a special moment,” Carmelo Anthony said. “As the U.S. men’s team, we go through a lot. For us to persevere the way we did is just a special moment for myself, and for the guys who are on this team.”

While Durant led Team USA with 30 points, it was an even better day for James who had 19 points. James joined basketball-legend Michael Jordan to become the only players to win a NBA title, regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold in the same year.

“It was a great year for me as an individual,” James said. “But this right here, it means more than myself, it means more than my name on my back. It means everything to the name on the front. I’m happy that I was able to contribute to this great team. It’s one of the best teams ever.”

As for Kobe Bryant, this was his last Olympic game. He finished with 17 points and added a second gold medal to go alongside his five NBA championships.

“This is it for me,” said Bryant. “The other guys are good to go.”

There are now 13 Americans who have won multiple gold medals as James, Bryant, Anthony, Chris Paul and Deron Williams joined the list.

The key for Team USA once again was three-pointers. They made 15 of 37 three-pointers attempted with five of them coming from Durant.

“We came through from the beginning of July and worked hard for one goal and I’m glad I accomplished it,” Durant said.

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