Team USA Defeats Spain To Claim Gold Medal
Team USA defeated Spain 107-100 on Sunday in London, claiming the Olympic Gold medal. It wasn't easy. Pau Gasol and Spain gave the United States all they could handle, trailing by only 6 with just over three minutes to go.
"We all respect each other and all know the one common goal was to win for our Country," said Durant shortly after clinching Gold. "We played together and got a great Gold medal to take back home."
It seemed that anytime Spain threatened to take a lead in the second half, Durant was there to make a big bucket. The Oklahoma City Thunder forward made clutch shot after clutch shot, scoring a game-high 30 points in all.
Chris Paul finished with 11 points and 3 assists, modest numbers for the superstar point guard. But it was his ability to control the tempo from buzzer to buzzer that made him so important on Sunday, and throughout the Olympic games.
"Durant made some huge plays, and so did Chris Paul," said Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski.
"This is it for me. Four years is a long time," said Bryant, who now has a second gold medal to go with his five NBA championships.
"Maybe I'll come support these guys in Rio," explained Bryant as his pointed toward teammates James and Durant.
Pau Gasol (pictured left) and Spain worked hard, but couldn't accomplish their ultimate goal. The Lakers All-Star power forward scored 24 in the loss.
"I am disappointed, but on the other side I'm very proud how of the we competed, how we played," Gasol said after the defeat. "We fought for 40 minutes. I am proud of having another Olympic medal around my neck.
"It's disappointing because I thought we had our chance. We were right there pretty much the entire game. We let them get away in the fourth and we couldn't get back."
Coach K and all of Team USA were impressed by Spain's game.
"Pau is as good a player as their is internationally," Krzyzewski said. "We beat a great team to win this Gold medal."
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We didn't want it easy. A lot of teams have won gold easy. We didn't want it that way," James said. "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."
The win gave the United States their 14th Gold medal Olympic basketball history.
New Orleans Hornets rookie Anthony Davis played the final 30+ seconds, pulling down the final rebound and dribbling the ball out as time expired. The 19 year old becomes the youngest American Olympian to win a Gold medal in basketball.
From the start, it was Gold medal or bust for Team USA. Anything less would've been unacceptable. Twenty years after the the "Dream Team" waltzed to Olympic Gold, the 2012 team achieved their own dream.
"We came through from the beginning of July and worked hard for one goal and I'm glad I accomplished it," Durant said.
So is every basketball loving American.