This was supposed the USA’s toughest challenge, but unfortunately Spain never showed up.
In truth, the U.S. were not firing on all cylinders but they showed enough of their superstar prowess to beat the Spanish 82-76 in the men’s Olympic basketball semi-finals on Friday and advance to Sunday’s gold medal game in Rio.
This latest victory for the Americans however was nowhere near the standard that the two sides set in the last gold medal games in Beijing and London, respectively. But the USA, led by Klay Thompson’s 22-point effort maintained the lead throughout without Spain really posing much of a threat.
Despite Thompson’s team-high effort, it was DeAndre Jordan who deserves the plaudits, as the Los Angeles Clippers big man pulled 16 rebounds, blocked four shots and helped on the offensive side as well with nine points.
Pau Gasol hit a game-high 23 points for the Spanish who will play for bronze against either Australia or Serbia.
A reasonably close game for the majority, the States, who never trailed in this contest eventually reached a double-digit cushion late in the first half at 30-20 with 7:13 left before Spain went on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 33-30.
Just when Spain looked ready to come back, Kyle Lowry and Paul George took over as they extended the USA’s lead to 15 before Kevin Durant and George combined to give the defending world and Olympic champions another boost that the Eurobasket holders could not come back from.