Team USA Basketball 2012: Complete Recap of Tuesday's Dominant Win over Spain
Team USA finished their Olympic warm-up on a successful note, as they beat fellow powerhouse Spain in Barcelona by a score of 100-78.
The Americans dominated for most of the game, utilizing their superior athleticism and shooting stroke to conquer the Spaniards.
LeBron James and company finished up a perfect 5-0 warm-up session, which also included defeating Brazil and Argentina.
Here is a complete quarter-to-quarter recap and detailed analysis of Team USA's big win over No. 2 ranked Spain.
Spain dominated out of the gate, as they rushed out to a 10-3 lead early on in the first quarter.
Team USA battled back though, pulling the lead to 16-13 behind a few big three's from Carmelo Anthony.
Then, Serge Ibaka exposed one of America's biggest flaws, their lack of size. He exploded for several big blocks and buckets, extending the Spanish lead to nine late in the first.
However, Team USA closed the lead again behind a couple Spanish turnovers and buckets from Deron Williams and Carmelo Anthony.
Serge Ibaka commanded the paint for the entirety of the first quarter, as he racked up 12 points and two blocks.
On the other hand, he did have two crucial goal tends.
Carmelo Anthony was the American's best player early, as he scored eight points while playing solid defense.
End of the First Quarter: Spain 23, USA 19
After a sloppy first quarter, Team USA controlled the pace of the game in the second quarter.
The Americans switched to perimeter defense to help contain Spain's offense, and it worked beautifully. The Spanish team committed several turnovers and were unable to find any sort of shooting stroke on offense.
Serge Ibaka continued to dominate inside though, as he drained his first seven shots of the game. Ibaka also forced Chandler into foul trouble, as the Knicks center already had three fouls early on in the second quarter.
LeBron James came to life in the second and Carmelo Anthony continued his hot shooting from outside. The two burned the Spaniards numerous times and combined for over a dozen points in this quarter alone.
Spain scored just 17 points in the second, while USA marched out to a comfortable lead. The Americans possessed all the momentum heading into the final half.
Anthony (23 points) and Ibaka were definitely the MVPs of the first half for their respective squads.
End of the Second Quarter: USA 48, Spain 40
Team USA relied on their superior athleticism and missed opportunities from the Spaniards to extend their big lead even further in the third quarter.
LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook all consistently burned Spain in the transition game, and they helped the Americans begin the second half on a 21-8 run.
Spain was also hurt by their free throw shooting, as they missed out on key points from the line on several occasions.
The Americans also struggled mightily from the free throw line at times throughout the game.
Despite being overmatched, the Spaniards turned in a nice run late in the third, as they pulled Team USA's lead down from 21 to 12 behind several nice buckets from Pau Gasol and Rudy Fernandez.
However, USA managed to enter the final phase with a big 15 point lead.
End of the Third Quarter: USA 74, Spain 59
Despite Tyson Chandler picking up his fifth foul early in the fourth quarter, Team USA continued to dominate on both ends of the floor.
LeBron James hit numerous jumpers and drove on the Spanish at will, and he helped the Americans keep a comfortable lead at all times.
Spain was once again plagued by untimely turnovers and wasted possessions. The offense only managed a meager 19 points in the final frame.
Anthony Davis entered the game in the last few minutes and had a profound impact. He nailed a couple free throws and swatted a Juan Carlos Navarro shot on the defensive end.
The game ended with James Harden doing what he does best. The Oklahoma City Thunder star drained two three's in the final minute to get the United States to 100 points against a usually tough Spanish defense.
End of the Fourth Quarter: USA 100, Spain 78
MVP for USA: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo Anthony reminded everyone why he is on the national team in the first place.
The Knicks small forward and perennial All-Star absolutely dominated on the offensive end, as his combination of skilled shooting and thunderous drives were too much for the Spanish to handle.
Anthony scored a ridiculous 23 points in the first half, and he helped the Americans stay in the game in the first quarter when the rest of the team looked sluggish.
The Syracuse product finished the contest with 27 points off the bench, and he was superb from beyond the arc, as he nailed five of his eight three-point shots.
If Carmelo can continue his hot shooting and manage to play decent defense, he could be the United States most dangerous player in the Olympic tournament.
Honorable Mentions: LeBron James (25 points, sevens assists), Kevin Durant (13 points, 10 points in first three and a half minutes of the second half, eight rebounds).
MVP for Spain: Serge Ibaka
Serge Ibaka was the lightning rod of an impressive first-quarter run from the Spanish.
The Oklahoma City Thunder center, who led the NBA in blocks last season, dismantled the United States in the paint.
Ibaka nailed his first seven shots and he finished the contest on eight-of-10 shooting. Ibaka also managed two offensive rebounds and a blocked shot.
The Republic of Congo-born youngster also almost entirely eliminated Tyson Chandler from the game, as he forced the USA center into several fouls.
Ibaka will be a force in London during the Olympics.
Honorable Mentions: Pau Gasol (19 points, six rebounds)
What We Learned
The exhibition game may have meant nothing in terms of Olympic glory, but it did give us an idea of the strengths and weaknesses of the tournament's two best teams.
The USA's strengths are their athleticism and guard-play. The Americans boast the world's best transition game and they can drive to the basket at will on most teams.
The United States also possess a terrific three-point shooting roster (13-23 three-point shooting vs. Spain).
Spain's strengths are their inside game and all-around roster. Despite being out rebounded by the Americans, Spain has one of the tournament's best combination of big men. They also are a better ball-handling team then they showed last night.
The main and only key weakness of Team USA is their lack of elite big men. Tyson Chandler struggled against premium competition and Anthony Davis is incredibly inexperienced.
Spain's biggest weakness is their lack of scoring guards. None of their ball-handlers have the ability to light up the scoreboard and carry the team through rough patches.
Despite these weaknesses, USA and Spain are the two best teams in the world and should meet in the Olympic finals in London.