Olympic basketball: Spain, US set up rematch of Beijing final (Second Lead)August 11th, 2012 - 7:53 am ICT by IANS
London, Aug 11 (IANS) Spain and the US are going to perform a rematch of the 2008 Beijing Games final at the men’s basketball event of the London Olympics after both teams won the semifinals.
Outplayed in the first half, 2008 Beijing silver medallists Spain dominated the second half to beat Russia 67-59 and erase an 11-point deficit at half-time while defending champions US beat Argentina 109-83 in another semi, Xinhua reported.
For Spain, Jose Calderon scored 14 points, 12 of which were in the second half, and Pau Gasol added a match-high 16 points and 12 rebounds.
Trailing as many as 13 points in the first half, the Spaniards’ hope for gold almost died as they made 3-out-of-15 shots in the first quarter and 3-out-of-14 in the second.
Russia opened a 10-0 run in the second quarter to build a 27-14 lead before finishing the half by 31-20.
The Spanish team revived after the break by responding with more quickness and intense defence.
Calderon’s buzzer-beater three pointer tied the game 46-46 at the end of the third quarter.
European champions Spain continued their energized play through to the end and were rewarded with a chance to revenge their 107-118 final loss to the US in Beijing 2008.
Four Spanish players reached double figures. Rudy Fernandez and Marc Gasol scored 11 points apiece for Spain. Sasha Kaun led Russia with 14. Andrei Kirilenko finished with 10 points and eight rebounds.
Russia beat Spain 77-74 in the preliminary round to secure the first place in group B.
For the US, LeBron James, who just had the first Olympics triple-double in Wednesday’s semifinal against Australia, took 18 points, seven rebounds and seven assists.
Kobe Bryant opened fire and helped the US team to build a 24-19 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Los Angeles Lakers star, maybe inspired by the news that Dwight Howard will be a Laker next season, scored all his 13 points in the first half and only played three minutes in the second.
Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony took over the match from halftime. Durant chipped in five three-pointers in the second half and scored a match-high 19 points. Anthony had 14 of his 18 points from the second half.
Emanuel Ginobili led the 2004 Athens Games gold medallists Argentina with 18 points. Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino contributed 15 points apiece.
Argentina beat the US team 89-81 in the semifinal at 2004 Games, which spoiled the Americans’ gold medal winning streak since the 1992 Barcelona Games. Carmelo and James were on that team coached by Larry Brown.
Argentina and Russia will fight for a bronze medal.
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Tags: andrei kirilenko, basketball event, beijing 2008, buzzer beater, dwight howard, european champions, first olympics, jose calderon, kobe bryant, lebron james, london olympics, los angeles lakers, marc gasol, olympic basketball, pau gasol, rudy fernandez, sasha kaun, silver medallists, spanish players, spanish team