The 2012 Gold Medal Final was a rematch of the 2008 Gold Medal Final, and it was a close one. The United States had a one-point lead at halftime, 59-58.
The stories of the first half were the fouls each team committed. They were racking up fouls at a neck-breaking pace. Both teams accounted for 22 fouls in the second quarter. Both teams were visibly upset about some of the tic-tac fouls being called.
One of the more surprising stats in the first half was Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, committing four fouls in the first half. Opposed to NBA rules where you receive six fouls, international play only allows five fouls and you’re out. Spain head coach, Sergio Scariolo, had no choice but to sit Marc Gasol in the beginning of the third quarter.
Spain shot 53% from three-point range in the first half, leading them to their 58 points.
The U.S. was not able to pull away in the third quarter again, only leading by one point due to Pau’s 15-point quarter. They were not able to get Spain out of their game plan defensively. Spain was putting good defensive pressure on, making the United States take tough outside shots. They were not driving to the basket too much, making it easy for Spain.
Spain committed numerous fouls on the United States, slowing them down in their fast-pace offense. They were not able to get into a rhythm offensively with all of the stoppage of play.
But when the fourth quarter began they came out firing, converting on their first four attempts from the field. Kevin Durant led the team with 30 points and nine rebounds. Durant leaves the 2012 Olympics with the most points scored in an Olympic tournament. The big three for the U.S. of Durant, LeBron James, and Kobe Bryant combined for 56 points.
Chris Paul was clutch for the United States down the stretch with three pointers and layups, leading them to their 107-100 victory. When Anthony Davis grabbed the last rebound with seven seconds remaining, the U.S. bench erupted and not shortly after the arena blasted some Bruce Springsteen “Born in the USA.”
It’s a proud moment for all Americans. Now Jerry Colangelo will look to rebuild this team after head coach Mike Krzyzewski has said this will be his last Olympic run. It is tough to say whom Colangelo will look to because it is still four years away. Whether they stick with a college coach or turn to a coach in the NBA is unknown. Whomever they pick must have these players excited about going after their third consecutive gold medal.