U.S. Men’s Basketball Beats Spain in Olympics Quarterfinals
SAITAMA, Japan – The United States men’s basketball team seems to have finally hit its stride, at just the right time.
In a make or die quarter-final match against Spain, the world’s No.2 team, the Americans overcame a slow first half and found some harmony on offense to claim a 95 victory. -81 Tuesday afternoon at Saitama Super Arena.
The USA’s men – who are ranked No.1, but haven’t always looked sharp as a group this month – now advance to the semi-finals, where they will face the winner of a match between Argentina and Australia.
Kevin Durant led the way for the Americans, who scored 29 points and hit several hard knocks after half-time to break through Spain’s organized defense. He finished the game shooting 10 for 17 from the field, including 4 of 7 with 3 points. His solid play helped the Americans rule out a poor first half in which they only shot 38 percent from the field.
Ricky Rubio was Spain’s main instigator, scoring 38 points. The bigger and apparently better trained Spaniards used their height as an advantage whenever they could. They won the rebound battle, 42-32, and took advantage of several second chance opportunities around the basket.
After two exhibition losses before the start of the Games, the United States began their Olympic campaign with a loss to France. The Americans mainly went through their next two competitions – against much weaker opponents Iran and the Czech Republic – and had time to establish some rhythm as a group.
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