USA was pushed to the limits but they managed to hold on and escape with a thrilling 107-100 win over Spain on Sunday night in the gold medal match of the 2012 London Olympics men’s basketball tournament.
In a rematch of their thrilling finals encounter in the 2008 Beijing Olympics, USA got off a strong start as they led by seven points and looked poise to pull away early, but Spain outplayed the Americans in the second period to pull within one point at the half.
Spain managed to stay toe-to-toe with the much-favored Americans and even led in the third period, before USA closed the period out with a precarious one-point lead.
Heading into the final ten minutes of the game with an 83-82 lead, USA pulled away quickly as Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and LeBron James caught fire to five the Americans a 97-87 lead with 4:27 left in the game.
Spain pulled within six points, 97-91, but James answered with five quick points to shut the door for the Spaniard’s comeback attempt, thus bagging the win that gave them their second-straight Olympic gold medal.
Durant starred for the talented USA squad as he finished with 30 points and nine rebounds, James finished with 19 points and seven rebounds, while Kobe Bryant added 17 points.
On the other hand, Pau Gasol led Spain with 24 points and eight rebounds to go with seven assists, Juan Carlos Navarro finished with 21, while Marc Gasol racked up 17 points, but it was not enough to avenge their painful defeat in Beijing four years ago.
Meanwhile, Russia took the bronze medal earlier in the day after hammering out an impressive 81-77 win over Argentina – a win that proved to be consolation for their impressive run in this year’s London Olympics.
“Getting a medal in the Olympics is history for new Russia,” said Russia coach David Blatt, whose team won their first-ever medal for the nation in men’s basketball event. “We’ve won three medals in recent years – gold at EuroBasket 2007, bronze at last year’s EuroBasket and now this. It’s been a great ride.”
NBA-bound Aleksey Shved, who will be playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves next season, led Russia with 25 points and seven assists, while Andrei Kirilenko, who also struck a deal with the Wolves recently, added 20 points and eight rebounds.