United States win basketball gold
Mon, 13 Aug 2012 6:58a.m.
By Guy Hand
Kevin Durant has shot the United States to the Olympic men's basketball gold medal, and brave Spain through the heart.
Forward Durant had 30 points and nine rebounds, guiding the US to a 107-100 victory in an epic gold medal match at North Greenwich Arena.
Spain spent most of the match tantalisingly close to the biggest upset of these Games - and among the biggest of any Olympics.
They pushed the best basketball team on the planet through three-and-a-half quarters, drawing basketball at its most dizzying out of the Americans to eventually finish them off.
With David Beckham and Arnold Schwarzenegger among a host of luminaries watching basketball's best burn bright, the US and Spain turned on a show reminiscent of their decider in Beijing, which the Americans also won.
Trailing by a point at both halftime and three-quarter-time, the Dream Team only put away the Spaniards on a fourth quarter 10-2 run sparked by guard Chris Paul and iced by the sweet-shooting Durant.
Paul's clutch three at one point up, followed by a feint and drive to the basket for two, added a little breathing space before Durant's three-pointer off a Paul assist widened the buffer.
Spain closed to within six again late in the term.
Then LeBron James and Paul - with an important bucket to stretch the lead into double digits - made the game safe in the final two minutes though Spain closed back to within single figures late.
Power forward Pau Gasol was brilliant for Spain - pouring in 15 of his team-high 24 points in the third term to go with eight rebounds.
The US have now won five of the last six gold medals in Olympic men's basketball - a streak only broken by their 2004 bronze.
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