It was the much-anticipated matchup at the 2012 Olympic Games as Team Spain and the U.S. battled for the gold medal and the game lived up to the hype.
It was a tightly contested game for much of four quarters, until the U.S. pulled away late in the game thanks to timely defensive plays and a little luck with Marc Gasol getting into foul trouble early on which benefited Team U.S.A.
And though weeks have passed since the U.S. walked away with the gold medal and Spain with the silver, Team Spain and Los Angeles Lakers' Pau Gasol is still reeling from the loss. Gasol played quite well for Spain but it wasn't enough as he reflected on the loss.
Obviously, it was hard to lose the final game, as we did in ’08. It was another great opportunity for us to show that we had a chance. Obviously we didn’t get to finish it off, we didn’t get to win it, but I think we showed a great level of competitiveness, spirit and talent. It was a good game. Unfortunately we came out on the losing end of it, but I try to keep in mind how we fought throughout the game and how we fought not only in that game but throughout the championship, because we had to face some adversity throughout. We competed really hard and through conditions like Marc getting the fourth foul in the second quarter and not being able to play until the fourth and a couple other things that didn’t work, or didn’t go our way.
But, obviously, the U.S. always have a very powerful team full of quality players. I’m proud of my team, proud of my guys. I don’t think we’re going to have another chance like that. But it’s been a good run.
Indeed Spain's run in London was great despite coming up short but it wasn't without its controversy. There was the constant flopping, the alleged "tank job" versus Brazil in order to avoid the U.S. early in the tournament, and the "nut-shot" France's Nicolas Batum gave to make sure Spain had a reason to flop.
But aside from that, Spain tested the U.S. which should give them some good momentum heading to the Rio in 2016. Hopefully they will have a complete team with the Gasol brothers, Serge Ibaka, and the rest of the crew including Ricky Rubio – who was not in action due to the knee injury.
Add Rubio (who might have been a difference maker to ensure a Spain win against the Americans) and Team U.S.A.might have something to worry about in Rio. Think about it – guards like Spain's Jose Calderon torched the U.S. perimeter in the gold medal game. With Rubio, Team Spain might be able to snap the American's dominance in basketball at the Olympics.