LONDON — U.S. Men’s Basketball was victorious on Sunday as Team USA defeated Spain 107-100 in a hard fought battle proving much tougher than originally expected. With all of the unnecessary comparisons early on to “The Dream Team” referring to the 1992 squad, the 2012 team can breathe a sigh of relief as losing to Spain would have been disastrous, especially considering the trash talking from Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant and Miami Heat star Lebron James.
In Sunday’s game Oklahoma City Thunder star Kevin Durant led his team with 30 points while the Los Angeles Lakerslegend Kobe Bryant chipped in 17 points in what Bryant describes as his final Olympic performance.
Still, the unlikely hero for USA Basketball was Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul who has been struggling somewhat in these 2012 Olympic Games. Paul played a key role in helping Team USA breakaway and never look back.
Chris Paul’s stats for the game may not have been overwhelming. Paul had 11 points, two assists and 3 steals but he came through when it was most crucial. Paul knocked down some key shots and was able to control the pace of the game in the second half. Chris Paul sunk a huge three point shot at the start of the 4th quarter and followed with a sick drive to the basket resulting in a layup. Those two baskets allowed Team USA to move ahead by six points and they would never look back.
After the game Chris Paul stated “It’s not about size, it’s the heart. It’s the heart that comes through and I’m happy we’ve got a bunch of big hearts on our team.” Those big hearts would have had 0% chance of stopping Patrick Ewing or David Robinson off of the 1992 squad but Lefty still respects Chris Paul’s attitude and understands where he is coming from.
Overlooked was Los Angeles Lakersbig man Pau Gasol dishing out a solid performance scoring 24 points and grabbing 8 rebounds for Spain. It will always remain in question what might have been if Spain had Minnesota Timberwolves guard Ricky Rubio on the floor.
Irregardless, we congratulate Team USA on defending the gold and proving to the rest of the world that the best basketball is still played right here in the USA, for now.
Lefty is a Featured NBA Writer of the Los Angeles Clippers for Rant Sports. Join me at Lefty’s Sports Debates