This is the fifth Olympic Games in a row, in which the America-Spain match was held in the knockout stage, and ended for the fifth time with the success of the same team. In 2008 and 2012, the Americans won in the final, in the quarter-finals in 2004, and in the semi-finals in 2016. Now, the confrontation between two teams selected on the podium was at such an early stage of the competition due to their group stage defeat – the United States against France, and Spain against Slovenia.
Ricky Rubio scored 38 points for Spain despite spending only 27 minutes on the field. He hit 13 out of 20 rounds of the match. No other basketball player has ever scored more against a United States team of NBA players. The impressive position of the 31-year-old who plays in the best league in the world every day was not enough, because his friends were in the shadows. Paradoxically, the team performed better when sitting on the bench, because they won this part with 9 points.
The Americans started the game better, it was 17:10 for them, but the Spaniards put in a great run in the second quarter. After the actions of Sergio Rodriguez and Willy Hernangomez, the score was 39:29 for the Iberians, but the opponents managed to equalize even before the long break. The teams went into the locker room at 43:43 and the progress appeared to be open.
But in the third quarter, the American offensive prevailed. Short-term Kevin Durant scored 13 points (29 in total) and his team recovered in 65:49. The Spaniards returned to the game for a while, after Osman Garuba, who was selected in this year’s NBA draft, was only 69:65, but after a few moments the American team left again. At 81:66, it became clear who would win.
For a while, the Pau brothers (6 minutes) and Marc Gasol (10 minutes), two legends of the local team, played briefly in the Spanish national team. Both ended without a point and were most likely their farewell appearances for the national colours. And in the case of 41-year-old Bawa, everything points to this even throughout his career.
The US national team will play against the winner of the Australia-Argentina match in the semi-finals. In the second duo, Slovenia will face France and Italy in the match.
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