USA outlasts Spain to advance to gold medal game

For the fourth Olympics in a row, the United States put an end to Spain’s gold medal hopes. With an 82-76 win, the U.S. sent Spain to the bronze medal game and secured an opportunity to play for its third straight gold medal.

Without a big performance from any of their stars, DeAndre Jordan led the United States to a stout defensive performance that proved to be the difference in the game.

Jordan was a monster in the around the rim, routinely deterring Spain from drives to the basket and when they dared to make a foray to the basket, he often altered or blocked their attempts. On offense, Jordan patrolled the paint catching and finishing lobs at the rim or corralling offensive rebounds. He finished with nine points, 16 rebounds, two assists and four blocks.

Even with Jordan imposing his will around the rim, Pau Gasol proved to be Spain’s best player for the fourth straight Olympic Games. Gasol scored a team-high 23 points, including two from three-point range – the only spot on the floor Jordan seemed unable to guard.  

Klay Thompson emerged as the offensive leader for the United States. He finished with 22 points, four rebounds, three assists, two steals and two blocks. Thompson helped to get Jordan going on the offensive end. As the defense collapsed on Thompson, he continually fed the big man with lobs that Jordan finished or was fouled on.

The U.S. now awaits the winner of Australia and Serbia to see who they will face in the gold medal game.