RIO DE JANEIRO, BRAZIL—It was sloppy, uneven and at times a choppy semi-final between the United States and Spain on Friday, August 19. Team USA defeated Spain, 82-76, setting the table for Sunday’s gold medal game vs. Serbia.
Klay Thompson and DeAndre Jordan saved the day for the Americans. Thompson was on fire with 17 points in the first quarter, finishing with 22. He has had a up and down tournament with Team USA, well he picked the perfect time to get hot, since Carmelo Anthony and Durant had uneven games. A rare occurrence for either of those two, both among the greatest players in international basketball history.
Jordan did his damage on the defensive end, grabbing 16 rebounds, tying a U.S Olympic record. Coach K inserted Jordan in the starting lineup Wednesday to protect the rim. He nearly tore it down on a massive right handed slam dunk on a missed 3-point attempt that left Carioca Arena shaking.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski acknowledged, “It was the most different game I’ve coached internationally for the United States.” Spain slowed down the pace, limiting fast break points and easy buckets.
Pau Gasol led Spain with 23 points, although the Spaniards ran out of gas in the fourth quarter. Unlike 2012, Spain was without Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, and was unable to score points on key possessions. The United States calling card-defense was spectacular Spain shot 38 percent from the field. Our bench did extremely well, Paul George and Kyle Lowry were effective driving to the hoop and creating turnovers.
The gold medal game will be a rematch of last week’s thriller. Serbia, trailing by three with a few seconds remaining, missed a wide open three, which would have sent the game into overtime. Serbia crushed Australia later in the afternoon, earning a winner take all matchup vs. Team USA.
Watch the United States attempt for their third consecutive Gold Medal. The game will air on NBC, Sunday at 11:30 a.m.