USA men's basketball team advances to gold medal game with defeat of Spain - NEWS SENTRY

Breaking

Saturday, 20 August 2016

USA men's basketball team advances to gold medal game with defeat of Spain

2016-8-19-kevin-durant

The anticlimactic outcome of Spain-USA failed to match the pregame hype of their men’s Olympic basketball semifinal game.

Given the USA’s supposed vulnerability after three close victories against Australia, Serbia and France in pool play, this was supposed to be Spain’s best chance of the past three Olympic matchups to beat the Americans.

Even Spain’s Pau Gasol believed that.

“That’s just the way I felt. I don’t think they’re playing as well as other times they have played. They’re still a very talented team individually, but I feel like if we would have been a little bit sharper with our shots, moved the ball a little better and boxed out a little more, it’s a two or three possession game and you’re talking about a whole different story.”

It was Spain’s once in a lifetime chance and turned out same as it ever was — another U.S. victory over Spain. This time, it was 82-76, and Spain will leave another Olympics without a coveted gold medal. It lost to the U.S. in the final game at the 2008 Beijing Olympics and 2012 London Olympics.
MEDAL COUNT
  • United States
    105
    38
    35
    32
  • China
    65
    22
    18
    25
  • Great Britain
    61
    25
    22
    14


  • The Americans can win their third consecutive gold and extend their eight-year dominance in international basketball with a victory over Serbia on Sunday (2:45 p.m. ET). It is a rematch of the 2014 FIBA World Cup final, which the U.S. won.

    “We talked about this all summer – to be here in the final game, to win the gold,” said forward Kevin Durant who is No. 2 behind Carmelo Anthony and ahead of LeBron James on the USA’s all-time Olympic scoring list. "We like our chances, so we've got to come out and play with a lot of intensity, and a lot of passion and energy, and we'll be fine."

    Klay Thompson scored 22 points, Durant added 14 points and eight rebounds and Kyrie Irving had 13 points.

    But offense – which has carried the U.S. throughout this competition – wasn’t the story for once. The U.S. defense, which had been exploited by opponents and criticized by reporters, put together its best back-to-back performances.

    Spain shot 39% from the field, and the U.S. dominated the paint. DeAndre Jordanhad 16 rebounds, four blocks and nine points.

    “The key to their game was defense,” Spain coach Sergio Scariolo said. “Their athleticism and their size made our offense difficult in most of the possessions.”

    After allowing 88 points to Australia, 91 to Serbia and 97 to France, the U.S. has given up 78 to Argentina in the quarterfinals and 76 to Spain.

    Playing defense for the entire possession, challenging shots, communication and focus have improved in the knockout round.

    “We had slippage for three games,” U.S. assistant coach and defensive specialist Tom Thibodeau said. “When you’re looking at those games, you’re also looking at high-powered offenses. You have to analyze where it went wrong. We had to get intensity back into it. But overall, I think the defense has been very good.”

    The U.S. isn’t invincible. But it is better than it was a week ago, and an upset loss doesn’t seem as realistic.

    “We need to continue to play with that effort on the defensive end. With passion like that it's going to be tough to beat us,” Durant said. "Offensively, any given time we can get hot. You see guys making shots all the time. But for the most part, we've got to be ready on the defensive end. The last two games we were really good.”

    No comments:

    Post a Comment