The Olympic men’s basketball final has given us the match-up we were all expecting and hoping for, as Team USA play Spain for the gold medal on Sunday. We’ve expected this final throughout the tournament, as both teams are numbers one and two in the world. However, I see nothing other than a dominant USA win on Sunday.
The Americans continued on their classy and explosive road to the final with a convincing win over Argentina. In the second meeting between the two sides inside a week, Argentina really struggled to get out of the traps early, allowing the USA to create a big margin on the score board.
Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola helped to lead the fight back, and by the midway point, the Argentines had made up a lot of ground.
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Unfortunately for them, this USA side were in no mood to coast through the game and treat it as an exhibition. We hadn’t seen much of it in prior games, but the US were unstoppable at both ends of the court, notably with their offensive and defensive play around the basket. The talent to do so was always there, but the willand desire really showed in this semi-final match.
Kobe Bryant was in great form early on, getting the team going with their first handful of points. But it was LeBron James and Kevin Durant who were really showing why they’re the top two in the NBA right now. They were powerful in their blocks and punishing on their attacks; it’s no surprise that both were among the leading scorers for the USA on the night.
As we’ve seen in recent games, LeBron has an awe-inspiring power to lift people out of their seats. It’s the same with Lionel Messi and the real greats of modern sports, and LeBron demands attention through his magnificent attacks to the hoop.
We also saw a little more of Carmelo Anthony and his 3pt clinics we’ve been used to. ’Melo has averaged excellent numbers over the course of the Olympic tournament, adding to it with 18pts against Argentina.
It was fantastic to see the USA really treat this semi-final as a necessary and important stepping stone to the gold medal. But what was especially captivating was the way the team really seemed to enjoy themselves later on in the game. The seriousness of the occasion was not lost on them, but they know they’re the best team and among the best players in the world; the camaraderie was inspiring.
In Spain, we’ll see a ready-made group of NBA stars, yet the depth is nowhere near to equaling that of the USA’s roster.
Spain will be led by Pau and Marc Gasol, as well as Serge Ibaka – all NBA talents and their biggest threats in attack. Unfortunately, Spain’s attack is not capable of putting up the numbers of the USA.
Notably, many of their games have been low-scoring, highlighting the lack of real high shooting power in the team. But to counter that, Spain do have a very good and consistent defensive game. Along with score lines that aren’t all that impressive in comparison to others, they do have the ability to stop their opponents from running up a big score.
In the final, however, I don’t see them lasting the distance with the power and intensity of the USA. We’ll go back to it again, but the USA’s athleticism will once again be a deciding factor, just as it was against Argentina in the semi-final and many others before them.
Team USA v Spain Picks
This is very much a hard working USA side when they have to be. They can find clutch players all over the roster when needs be. Despite going up against the number two seeded team in the world in Spain, the USA are simply so much better.
The USA will win and they will win comfortably. They can defy the bookies’ -20.5pt handicap. Spain will pose a threat, but the power in defense and attack for the USA will see them to gold.
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