Spain Olympic Basketball Team: Pau Gasol Keeps It Close in Gold-Medal Final

Darin PikeContributor IAugust 12, 2012

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 12:  Pau Gasol of Spain drives past Kevin Love of the United States to score during the Men's Basketball Gold medal game between the United States and Spain on Day 16 of the London 2012 Olympics Games at North Greenwich Arena on August 12, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Eric Gay - IOPP Pool /Getty Images)
Pool/Getty Images

The United States had yet another dominant fourth quarter performance at the 2012 London Olympics. This will be their last, as a 24-18 edge led to a 107-100 win over Spain in the gold-medal game.

The game might have been a blowout if not for the tenacity of the talented Pau Gasol.

Lakers fans can feel good about how excellent @paugasol played. After his strong 2008 Olympics, he helped L.A. to the title that season.

— Mike Trudell (@LakersReporter) August 12, 2012

He scored 24 points and added some strong defensive play for Spain, adding eight rebounds.

The U.S. wanted to run in the third quarter to open up their one-point halftime lead. But Gasol wasn't about to let them put the game out of reach.

Spain decided to press inside after the half, taking advantage of the lack of size on the U.S. team. Gasol scored Spain's first 13 points in the third quarter and helped his team grab a 67-64 lead. 

He added several defensive stops and rounded out his performance with seven assists, one coming off a steal that led to transition points for Spain.

#DidYouKnow - Team USA men's basketball has won 49 straight games in international play & 16 straight games in the #Olympics

— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 11, 2012

But down the stretch, the talent pool for the new Dream Team was just too deep. The U.S. went on a 13-5 run late in the third quarter and took control of the game over the final 10 minutes of the game.

Kevin Durant scored early and often, but his 30 points were overshadowed by LeBron James taking control of the game in the closing minutes.

James had a great drive from outside the three-point arc that resulted in a layup. He followed that by taking the outside shot, sinking both a three-point shot and the nail in Spain's coffin.

His 19 points were just ahead of Gasol's teammate, Kobe Bryant, who scored 17.