USA vs. Spain: United States Offensive Powerhouse Proves Too Much to Handle

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USA vs. Spain: United States Offensive Powerhouse Proves Too Much to Handle
Harry How/Getty Images

On Sunday Team USA once again defeated the Spaniards en route to its second consecutive gold medal in men's basketball.

The U.S. and Spain are far from new acquaintances, having met in the Olympic finals twice before with the Spaniards getting closer to victory on every occasion. In 1984 they fell to the States by 31 in Los Angeles and lost again in the 2008 Beijing Games by 11 points. 

The margin was only seven points this time in London, nevertheless the result was the same. Team USA has now won 17 consecutive Olympic contests, with a 130-5 record overall.

Spain, accepted by many as the second best team in Olympic competition, took advantage of its size and kept it close throughout. However, the star-studded American offense could not be matched, or even contended with on the perimeter. 

Prior to the London Games, no American had ever bucketed more than 17 three-pointers throughout the course of the tournament. Team USA's 2012 squad sported two athletes who did just that.

Carmelo Anthony managed 23 threes, but was completely overshadowed by the work of Kevin Durant. The 23-year-old drained 34 three-pointers in eight games on his way to becoming the most prolific scorer for the U.S. in Summer Games history. 

Shooting 52 percent from beyond the arc, Durant unsurprisingly led Team USA in the final with 30 points. He had this to say:

When I got here, I didn't want to be that guy who was taking all the shots, he said. I was passing them up, and C.P. (Chris Paul) and coach were telling me to be aggressive and shoot. Once I got those shots, I looked over to my teammates, and they're jumping up and down, and that gave me confidence. (Via SportsIllustrated.com)

Mike Krzyzewsk's squad never scored less than 98 points in the tournament, scoring more than 100 in six out of their eight contests. With an 83-point embarrassment of Nigeria (156-73) and a 47-point dismantling of Tunisia (110-63), the U.S. rolled through its early competition. 

On its eight-game run, Team USA managed to average 106 points per game and won by an average margin of 32.1 points per game. In the final, the U.S. flashed its expected offensive prowess, but didn't stand a chance covering its normal margin of victory.

Spain was in it until the very end, with only a one-point deficit heading into the final quarter. LeBron James said via SportsIllustrated.com:

We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We didn't want it easy. A lot of teams have won gold easy. We didn't want it that way. We're a competitive team, and we love when it gets tight. That's when our will and determination kind of shows. It was the same way in '08. 

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