Friday, the USA men’s basketball team edged an 82-76 semifinal win over Spain. The U.S. was led by Klay Thompson with 22 points and four three-pointers. Kevin Durant ended the match with 14, but got going early teaming with Thompson for 12 of team USA’s first 16. On the other side of the ball, NBA veteran Pau Gasol dropped a game-high 23 and hit seven threes on 9-of-19 shooting. The victory puts team USA in the Gold medal game against Serbia while Spain will take on Australia for the Bronze.
The U.S. survived a scare the last time they faced Serbia. Not a single American put up an all-star performance and they narrowly escaped 94-91. The rematch between the two should be intense, however, the results should swing heavily in team USA’s favor. Despite the Americans up and down play, their depth is what sets them apart from the field. Yes, the U.S. could be playing better, but they are still the best. In a close game that comes down to the last few possessions, every player you want on your team plays for team USA.
In their last meeting with Serbia, Kyrie Irving led the U.S. with 15 points while Paul George, Carmelo Anthony, and Durant each had 12. Now that Durant is playing more aggressive and Thompson has been hot from the field, Serbia isn’t likely to stop them both. What’s really been hurting team USA is their defense. Against Serbia, team USA’s elite wing defenders continuously missed switches on screens and left opponents wide open. Considering the next game is for the Gold, the U.S. will play harder on defense and want to assert their dominance. As for the offense, expect team USA’s leaders to atone for their subpar shooting performances the first time these two teams met. It will not be a blowout, but Team USA will control the game on offense and defense to take home the Gold.