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List of Articles by Maloney L. Samaco


 

2012 OLYMPICS: USA DREAM TEAM BEATS SPAIN IN A CLOSE GAME FOR THE GOLD

By Maloney L. Samaco
PhilBoxing.com
13 Aug 2012



Spain came to the Olympic basketball final the absolute underdog. The United States was the overwhelming favorite to retain the gold medal because they were undefeated in seven previous games leading to the gold medal game. Only Lithuania posed a serious threat to the team of the world’s greatest basketball players.

On the other hand, Spain lost two times in the preliminaries of Group B. They were defeated by the Russians, 77-74 and by the Brazilians, 88-82. However in the semi-final game, they avenged by winning over Russia, 67-59.

The USA Dream Team trounced the vicious struggle by Spain, 107-100, to win their fifth basketball gold in the six Olympic Games since the start of open basketball. It was the closest gold medal game since the controversial Soviet Union victory over the Americans, 51-50, in the 1972 Munich Olympics and the second closest final game in Olympic history.

Kevin Durant scored 30 points to lead the Dream Team while LeBron James had 19 and Kobe Bryant 17.

The audience had Arnold Schwarzenegger, Boris Johnson, David Beckham and Henry Kissinger and the members of the Spanish royal family. Spain won their second straight silver, winning in 2008 in Beijing in another close final. Juan Carlos Navarro, who has been suffering with a foot problem, fired booming triples for the Spanish squad which ignited the hot start for the European champions.

Spain was severely affected when Marc Gasol was hounded by foul trouble in the second quarter. Obviously with Pau and Marc Gasol, the vaunted Spanish twin towers, the lack of height for the USA took its toll at the middle, with Tyson Chandler the only legitimate center as top rookie Anthony Davis was too raw for the seasoned opponents. Rudy Fernandez made it 59-58 before the break.

Pau Gasol fought to the finish to carry his Spanish five when the Americans seemed headed to another title in the fourth period. He scored Spain’s first 13 points of the third quarter, but they were still down 83-82, at the start of the fourth.

Marc returned to the court reduce the lead to four. Chris Paul scored to pull the Americans. But Navarro and Fernandez ignited the Spanish rally. James scored a three pointer to ice the US win, 102-93.

Paul's lay-up 50 seconds remaining upped the lead by 11, and American coach Mike Krzyzewski pulled out his starting five as James and Bryant and company began to celebrate in the bench.

Paul finished with 11 points for the Americans. Pau Gasol had 24 points for Spain and Navarro 21. Marc Gasol had 17 points in only 17 minutes of action, while Fernandez added 14 and Serge Ibaka 12.

Bryant has confirmed his intention to retire from international basketball after winning his second gold medal. The Los Angeles Lakers star also won gold in Beijing four years ago. This could be Bryant’s final Olympics as he turns 34 later this month. He said: “This is it for me. The other guys are good to go.”

“It's all about the USA,” James said. “It's about the three letters on the chest.”


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