With all of the talk early on in these Olympics about whether or not this version of Team USA could defeat the original 1992 Dream Team, the 2012 team had their hands full often these Olympics.
The Gold Medal Game against Spain lived up to the hype expected, but Team USA had their hands full once again. But behind 30 points from Kevin Durant and some late fourth quarter clutch play from Chris Paul and LeBron James, Team USA captured the gold by defeating Spain 107-100.
The battle for the gold was back-and-forth the entire contest as Team USA had problems pulling away from Spain the entire game.
In addition to the 30 from Durant, LeBron had 19 and Kobe Bryant chipped in 17 for Team USA, who led Spain by only one after three quarters.
However as good as Durant, James and Bryant were, it was point guard Chris Paul who was the ultimate difference.
Paul took the game over in the second half and played as well as he has possibly ever played. His stats say he scored only 11 points and dished out a pair of assists, but Paul was so much better than that would suggest. He controlled the pace of the game and knocked down a few huge shots to give Team USA some breathing room and as usual, Paul was outstanding on the defensive end of the floor.
The Los Angeles Clippers guard knocked down a three at the beginning of the fourth quarter and followed that up with a drive to the basket and a layup. Those five points put Team USA up by six and they never looked back.
While Paul was outstanding, it was Durant ho carried Team USA through three quarters. With his 30 points, he became the all-time American Olympic scorer in one Olympics.
Pau Gasol scored 24 and Juan-Carlos Navarro had 21 for Spain, which had to settle for silver in the second straight Olympics. That may not have been the case if Gasol’s brother Marc didn’t pick up four fouls in the first half as the younger Gasol was having his way down low with the Americans. He finished with 17 points, but only played 17 minutes for Spain due to the foul trouble.
This win was the swan song for Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski, who coached in his final international game, finishing with an amazing 61-1 record.
As for the New York Knicks involved, Carmelo Anthony scored eight points, grabbed five rebounds and dished out three assists in 21 minutes, and Tyson Chandler finished with two points in nine minutes of playing time.
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