Team USA continues their dominance over Spain at the Olympics, improving their all-time record to 13-0. USA won 95-81 and will advance to the semi-finals. These teams met in pre-Olympic play and both games were played in a similar fashion. Spain utilized their size advantage to make things tough in the first half, but USA proved to be too talented in the second half. USA pulled away thanks to yet another decisive third quarter in these Olympics and never surrendered their lead again.
Ricky Rubio deserves an honorable mention for his performance in the losing effort. He finished the game with 38 points, which surpasses his NBA career-high of 34. He got everything he wanted to keep Spain within striking distance of the U.S. Ultimately, the talent and athleticism of USA helped them keep Rubio and Spain at bay.
Spain was successful in disrupting the United States game plan in the first half. USA wanted to run in transition, but found few opportunities to do so. The U.S. also had plenty of trouble getting clean looks at the rim which led to many blocked shots for Spain. After falling behind late in the half, Kevin Durant decided to take matters into his own hands. His play sparked a run that brought the U.S. level with Spain at the half at 43 points each.
Jayson Tatum featured very little in the first half but played a key role in the second half. USA put the clamps on defense and no longer had trouble getting to the rim. This led to some open looks from deep and the U.S. continued to knock them down as they have all tournament. Tatum checked in late in the third quarter and helped weather the Rubio storm.
JT hit two three’s in the first few minutes of the fourth and provided a sweet bounce pass to the baseline for an easy bucket. He scored an additional four points in the quarter which included two free throws and his patented step-through move for a layup.
Tatum’s contribution was critical USA’s victory and came at the perfect time. Tatum is capable of doing this on a nightly basis and Celtics fans would love to see Gregg Popovic give him a bigger role in the offense moving forward.
Team USA continues their quest for gold this Thursday as they await the winner between Australia and Argentina.
(Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images)