The Reign Over Spain: Team USA Wins Olympic Basketball Gold

Spain kept it close until the very end, but Team USA's overwhelming depth was too much as the Americans won back-to-back gold medals.

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32 Total Updates since August 12, 2012
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LeBron James Wants To Return To Olympics In 2016

Despite already being one of three U.S. players to be on three different Olympic teams, LeBron James is looking to be part of a fourth when the RIo Games roll back around in 2016, according to Sports Illustrated.

James, just a week removed from taking the gold medal home from London, has said that as long as he's healthy and the rules still allow it, he would like to be that veteran presence on one final team.

James says he's "done the math" and he'll be 31 when the next games occur. While that may seem old to some, to put it in perspective, Earvin "Magic" Johnson was 32 when he was a key contributor on the original "Dream Team," with Larry Bird clocking in at a cool 35.

James still hasn't showed the slightest sign of decline despite the tread on his tires, averaging 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists per game in last year's NBA MVP campaign.

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LeBron James On Basketball Gold Medal: 'We Didn't Want It Easy'

The United States men's basketball team won its second straight Olympic gold medal match over Spain, capping a dominant run at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Sunday's game was the tightest Team USA played over the last two weeks. Leading by just one point heading into the fourth quarter, the American squad chock full of NBA stars gradually pulled away for a 107-100 win.

LeBron James commented on the difficult matchup, saying it was exactly how he and his teammates wanted it.

"We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We didn't want it easy," James said. "A lot of teams have won gold easy. We didn't want it that way. We're a competitive team and we love when it gets tight. That's when our will and determination kind of shows. It was the same way in '08."

James went on to call the squad one of the best ever. While there has been plenty of debate over that claim in the past few weeks, there's no denying that Team USA has reasserted its dominance over international competition. Kobe Bryant and head coach Mike Krzyzewski did as much to help the United States recover from its disappointing bronze in 2004. Both will go out winners having participated in their final Olympics. After the game, Coach K was asked if he was sure of his decision to leave the international circuit:

"I am - but I think I can get a great meal out of this."

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics hub.

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Team USA Vs. Spain Final Score: United States Wins Gold Medal, 107-100

The United States beat Spain, 107-100, to win the men's basketball gold medal match Sunday at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. Kevin Durant dominated, leading all scorers with 30 points, and LeBron James came through in the clutch to give Team USA its second-straight gold medal in the event.

Entering the fourth quarter, the United States led 83-82. They pulled away from there, however. Kevin Durant hit a 3-pointer to give the United States a 93-86 lead, and Kobe Bryant put the U.S. up by nine points with two free throws after being fouled behind the arc with six minutes to play. Spain clawed back, however, pulling within six after Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez scored four straight points in transition.

Momentum seemed to be turning slightly towards the Spaniards, until LeBron James came back into the game off the bench with 3:20 remaining. He threw down an emphatic dunk, then hit a 3-pointer with just inside of two minutes left to put Team USA up 102-93 and all but wrap up the gold medal.

James and Bryant would finish with 19 and 17 points, respectively. Chris Paul also enjoyed a nice outing, scoring 11 with two assists and three steals. Pau Gasol led Spain with 24 points and eight rebounds. Navarro was fantastic as well, scoring 21 points.

For more on the Olympics, check out SB Nation's London 2012 Olympics hub.

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Here's Mike Krzyzewski's Impressive Vertical

Mike Krzyzewski may be 65 years old, but he could probably compete in a dunk contest if he really wanted to at this point in his life.

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Big ups, Coach K. I hope you enjoyed that London Leap.

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Carmelo Anthony Injured On Missed Three-Pointer

Carmelo Anthony left the gold medal game against Spain with three minutes remaining when he injured his ankle after landing on Rudy Fernandez’s foot on a missed three-pointer. ’Melo was obviously limping on the next two possessions, but in FIBA play, coaches can only call timeouts during dead balls.

’Melo had eight points on 3-9 shooting. Team USA led 97-91 when Anthony exited.

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Kevin Durant Is The Scoringest Team USA Player Ever

Kevin Durant has now scored the most points in a single tournament in Team USA history. He has 156 in London after a fourth quarter three, and 30 for the game. This is Kevin Durant. This is what Kevin Durant does.

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Serge Ibaka Has His Best Quarter Of The Olympics

Serge Ibaka's Olympics haven't been that great, mostly because it appears Spain's coaching staff doesn't really trust him. However, with Marc Gasol stuck in foul trouble, Ibaka came up huge in the third quarter, scoring seven points to help Spain stay within one point of Team USA entering the fourth quarter of this 2012 Olympic basketball gold-medal game.

Also, he did this.

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Spain's been waiting for the Oklahoma City Thunder version of Ibaka all tournament. Now, they've found him.

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How Team USA Can Stop Pau Gasol

Pau Gasol has 13 points in five minutes, outscoring Team USA all by himself in this third quarter of the 2012 Olympic basketball gold-medal game. He's been the best player on the floor, and Team USA can't stop him.

How do they do it? A couple ideas:

  • Send harder double teams: Team USA has elected to "dig" the post, which is a fancy way of saying that the guards cheat towards the middle without sending a hard double team until Gasol gets close to the basket. Gasol has been clever enough to avoid Team USA's defenders, though, so it might be time to just trap him and live with the results.
  • Put LeBron James on him: James has been guarding Serge Ibaka, but he was effective fronting Gasol in the post in the first half. Maybe he can be effective again.
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GIF: Vin Diesel Approves

There are no words.

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Marc Gasol Sits In Second Half, Won't Enter Until Fourth Quarter

Marc Gasol, perhaps Spain's best player, picked up four fouls in the first half of the gold medal game. You only get five in FIBA play, so Spanish coach Sergio Scariolo sat Marc to open the third quarter. Craig Sager reports that Marc won't enter until the beginning of the fourth, should the game remain close.

If Spain keeps the game close without Marc, Team USA has some real problems on its hands.

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Rudy Fernandez Will Flop Forever

Depending on your point of view, Rudy Fernandez is either the best or worst flopper basketball has ever seen. Watch as he baits Andre Iguodala and the referees into an unsportsmanlike foul call at the end of the first half of the 2012 Olympic basketball gold-medal game.

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If Iguodala sneaks in a quick jab towards Fernandez's midsection (like this, but more discreet), that'll be why.

UPDATE: And now, the reverse angle!

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The Mystery Of The Spain Fan In A Green Jacket

* What's the deal with the green jacket? Are you a Fabulous Master's champion?

* What in God's name is in your mouth?

* What invisible thing or person are you air humpinh?

* What are you holding in your left hand? Is that a jockey cap?

* I like your fine woven tapestry. Where can I purchase it?

* Will you be posting your photos under a Creative Commons license?

* What happened to your tie?

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Marc Gasol Has Four Fouls, And That's Huge

Spain's upset bid in the gold-medal game against Team USA in London is in big trouble thanks to Marc Gasol's fourth foul. The Memphis Grizzlies' center picked up his third midway through the second quarter, and yet, he was still allowed to stay in the game. One minute later, at the 5:29 mark, he got ticked for a fourth, jostling for position on a rebound, and now, we probably won't see him for a while.

Keep in mind: Five fouls disqualifies you in international competition.

The immediate question: Was it right to leave Gasol in the game after he picked up his third foul? There's been a big push recently for coaches to allow their stars to play through foul trouble, because keeping him on the bench provides the same effect as him picking up another foul and sitting anyway. However, in FIBA play, where the referees call more fouls and are notoriously inconsistent, it probably would have been smarter to get Gasol out of there right away.

Follow the gold medal game in our Team USA vs. Spain StoryStream.

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Jesse Eisenberg's Stirring Turn As Mark Zuckerberg Continues In London

<NBC shows shot of actor Jesse Eisenberg, who played Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg in The Social Network, in the crowd at Spain vs. Team USA>

Bob Fitzgerald:

"I know I'm gonna put that picture on Facebook. We've got every executive of note worldwide, it seems, attending these games."

Oh, Bob Fitzgerald.

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Kevin Durant Denies Pau Gasol A Buzzer Beater

With the clock winding down in the first quarter, Pau Gasol attempted to give Spain three more points with a short corner three. The NBA's reigning scoring champ, Kevin Durant, used one of his eight arms to deny the Spaniard.

Durant also had 12 points in the first quarter. No big deal.

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Why Team USA's Small Lineup Is Working

Team USA has often played without a single big man in this Olympic basketball tournament, and while it's a nifty lineup in theory, it hasn't been nearly as effective as lineups with a big man like Tyson Chandler and Kevin Love. That is, until Sunday's gold-medal game.

Midway through the first quarter, Mike Krzyzewski took Tyson Chandler out and put Carmelo Anthony in, despite the fact that both Pau and Marc Gasol were on the floor for Spain. It was a risky play, even though Krzyzewski used that lineup often in this tournament. And yet, it worked well enough to get Team USA a nine-point lead.

Why? Mostly because of LeBron James. Look at how well he fronts Pau Gasol in the post, preventing the entry pass.

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LeBron's been doing that all tournament, but he's on another level in this game. That kind of play eliminates Spain's size advantage.

One thing that also helps: the shorter three-point line. Because the perimeter players aren't as far away from the post player when making entry passes, it's easier for Team USA's perimeter players to double-team without leaving their man open.

Follow the gold medal game in our Team USA vs. Spain StoryStream.

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Team USA Content To Continue Shooting Three After Three

Team USA took five three-pointers within the first five minutes of the gold medal game against Spain. So if you thought the Americans would edit their typical gameplan against a truly daunting opponent, you were mistaken.

Kobe Bryant has hit two threes early. Kevin Durant is 1-3. Carmelo Anthony hit one late in the first quarter.

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NBC Is Powerful Enough To Push Craig Sager Toward A Sane Sartorial Choice

Nothing has been more depressing or refreshing (depending on your perspective) than watching Craig Sager cower under the boot of NBC Universal and wear ... normal clothes during his basketball sideline duties.

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Don't worry, though: he's actually wearing hot pink spandex out of frame.

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Russell Westbrook Injury: Mild Ankle Sprain Won't Keep Guard Out Of Team USA Vs. Spain

Russell Westbrook suffered a mild ankle sprain in Team USA's win over Argentina in the semifinals Friday, but it won't keep him out of Sunday morning's gold medal game against Spain, according to multiple reports. Westbrook warmed up on court a bit more than an hour before Team USA was scheduled to play Spain with first place on the line.

Westbrook's ankle sprain was thankfully Team USA's first injury of the Olympic tournament. Other teams have in the past seen big-name players go down in international play, but the Americans have remained fortunate.

Westbrook has been playing as a reserve two-guard for coach Mike Krzyzewski, teaming up with Nets point guard Deron Williams on the second unit. In some spot, Westbrook has played small forward with Williams and Chris Paul in the backcourt. Westbrook's Thunder teammates Kevin Durant and James Harden are also on the team.

Follow the gold medal game in our Team USA vs. Spain StoryStream.

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For Team USA And Spain, It Always Came Down To This

Spain has been looking forward to this rematch for four years. They'll get another chance against Team USA on Sunday morning in the match that seemed predestined from the start.

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How To Watch Team USA Basketball Vs. Spain In Gold Medal Game Live Online

The United States and Spain will play for the men's basketball gold medal Sunday and the game can be watched live on NBC or online.

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