Team USA Staves off Pesky Spain for Gold

Micah SecorCorrespondent IAugust 23, 2008

It was a showcase of offensive firepower for both sides. It was truly an epic gold medal showdown. Team USA came out running, but Spain hung tough and kept the pace.

Rudy Fernandez netted a team-leading 22 points for Spain while Pau Gasol chipped in with 21. Simply put, Team USA shot beautifully from behind the arc, posting 46 percent in three-point shooting.

Juan Carlos Navarro displayed an array of runners to bring Spain back into the game. But to see Kobe Bryant and company answer back with shot after shot was quite the experience.

Dwayne Wade caught fire early, popping three-pointer after three-pointer. His extraordinary play from early on really set the tone for Team USA.

Up by only two points in the fourth quarter, Wade leaned into Bryant and said, "Let the mamba loose."

Boy he sure did as Bryant converted a game-changing four-point play in the final minutes. As I sat there shouting and hollering, I told myself, I've seen Kobe come through in the clutch more times than I can remember.

It was all I could do to contain myself watching this see-saw battle between two worthy opponents. Spain did all they could, but it just wasn't enough as USA prevailed, 118-107. I commend them for such a noteworthy performance tonight after a 37-point drubbing from Team USA a week ago

By all means staying up late to watch this game was well worth it. And getting up early for the others was worthwhile as well. Supporting the boys in blue is something that will never grow old for me.

In remarkable fashion, the turnaround from bronze in Athens is complete. This group of players was by all means the Redeem Team, reshaping their image and disposing of the international competition.

Team USA set the ultimate example of excellent teamwork and good sportsmanship in the Olympics.

It's something I'll never forget as the Games were capped off emphatically with this marvelous showdown.

As I took in all the sights, one I will remember is Kobe and Dwayne embracing at midcourt. I was overcome with national pride and told myself, I'm proud that these guys have shown what American basketball is all about again as Dwayne Wade remarked, "It's about the three letters on the front of that jersey."

It's been eight long years since we last won a gold in international competition. Eight years too long. But I've quickly forgotten as Team USA has set the standard for dominance in basketball again.

I have a great feeling of sadness as the Games draw to a close. But instead of regret, I'm glad I was able to enjoy all the competitions and cheer for the US.

It was a blast, and it's something I'll be looking forward to seeing all over again in London in four years.