US shoot to basketball glory

Durant stars as Americans down Spain in final; claim 14th overall gold in sport.


Afp August 13, 2012

LONDON:


The United States Dream Team of NBA stars captured their second Olympic men’s basketball gold medal in a row and the 14th overall by beating Spain 107-100 in yesterday’s championship game.


The US multi-millionaire line-up of NBA elite improved their Olympic record to 62-1 since revamping the national team programme after settling for bronze in 2004. The Americans, helped by Kevin Durant in the final, ran through the tournament undefeated just as they did in 2008 when they defeated Spain 118-107 in the Beijing final.

But reigning European champion Spain, routed by the US NBA stars in a pre-Olympic exhibition game last month in Barcelona, stayed with the defending champions to the very end, keeping within reach until the final minutes.

US players began celebrating when James and others were pulled from the court with 37 seconds to play. Paul and James Harden hit late free throws to seal the triumph.

NBA-bound Shved powers Russia to bronze

Meanwhile, Alexey Shved gave NBA fans a taste of what they can expect next season, lifting Russia over Argentina 81-77 for Olympic bronze to bring his homeland the first men’s basketball medal under its flag.

The 23-year-old guard scored 13 of his 25 points in the final minutes of the fourth quarter to power Russia onto a podium spot, seizing command of the game in the closing moments the way NBA stars like Kobe Bryant and LeBron James do.

“When I think about it, it was the best in my life, honestly,” said Shved of his late heroics. “To win a medal in the fourth quarter like that is great.”

Centre Sasha Kaun found the words much faster to sum up the first medal for Russia since the old Soviet Union dynasty was shattered.

“We’ve made history,” said Kaun. “We haven’t won anything since the Soviet Union fell apart. Shows how much we’ve grown.”

Shved has already signed to play for the NBA Minnesota Timberwolves next season, alongside Olympic teammate and veteran big man Andrei Kirilenko.

US women rip France for fifth gold in a row

Extending their Olympic dynasty run to a fifth gold medal in a row, the United States women’s basketball team overpowered France 86-50 in the championship final.

Candace Parker produced game highs of 21 points and 11 rebounds to power the US Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) stars to their seventh crown in the past eight Olympics.

“For USA basketball to do it five times in a row, that’s really special,” said Parker. “We’re never going to take anything for granted. That’s the key. You never want to be the team that ends the streak.”

The Americans’ women’s team has not lost at the Olympics since dropping a 1992 Barcelona semi-final to the Unified Team of former Soviet players and only once during the win streak has a rival kept the US winning margin below 10 points.

“The US has had unbelievable teams,” said US coach Geno Auriemma. “I think we’re just another one on the list. We accomplished the same thing they did. I think that makes us equal with them.”

STAR PLAYER

30 is the number of points Kevin Durant scored for the US in the final which was the highest by any player in the match.

DOMINANCE

5 is the number of gold medals the US men’s basketball team has claimed in the past six Olympics.

UNBEATEN STREAK

41 is the number of games in a row the US women’s basketball team has now gone unbeaten in.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 13th, 2012.

COMMENTS (1)

Adhitya | 10 years ago | Reply

What a sporting legacy! Speaks a mile about that country!

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read