In a game all hoops lovers wanted to see, the gold medal game will see Spain take on the U.S.
The countries arrived at this showdown from different routes. The Spaniards were challenged constantly during their thrill ride through Group B., winning 3 & losing 2 in the Qualifiers, before finding their game when they needed it. In the Brackets, Spain managed tight victories over France, then Russia, to reach this point. The U.S. had but 1 tough game in Group A Qualifiers, that against Lithuania where they prevailed by 5 points. Otherwise, the games were over early, and the Americans outscored their opponents by a ridiculous 191 points (589-398), including a preposterous 83 point margin over Nigeria.
The Raps’ Jose Calderon has had a marvelous Olympics, and I hope his fine play continues in what will almost certainly be the final Olympic game of his career. The Spaniards will need him to play out of his mind, because any objective assessment of this game sees the Americans prevailing. Their depth is unparalleled. While Spain’s first team of the Gasol brothers, Marc & Pau, Rudy Fernandez, Serge Ibaka and Jose can play against anyone, the U.S.’s second unit is likely to throttle the Spaniards’ benchers. The Americans play in constant overdrive, and will pressure the ball without mercy. Even Jose, who protects the ball superbly, is going to feel relentless heat, and there will be turnovers, and easy buckets. The other seemingly unsolvable problem for Spain is Lebron James, who is the best player on this planet, and probably several others. Is there anyone better at the end of the shot clock?
Everyone wants to cheer for the underdog, but in this case, the head will have to overrule the heart. The U.S. players will be parading gold in a few hours, winning 90-71.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.