Rio Olympics: Team USA to play Spain Friday in men's basketball semifinals
The winner advances to the gold medal game
Before the Olympics in Rio, it was expected USA Basketball and Spain would be matched up in the gold medal game for the third straight time. Instead, Spain's poor group play and quarterfinals win over France put them on an early collision course with Team USA. Spain's 92-67 drubbing of France on Wednesday combined with Team USA's big 105-78 win over Argentina means that we'll still get this matchup in the Olympics. Instead of deciding which team gets the gold medal though, it will decide which team gets to play for the gold medal.
Spain was led by Nikola Mirotic's 23 points to beat France. Kevin Durant's 27 points helped USA put Argentina away.
The winner of that game will play the winner of Australia and whomever it faces between Croatia and Serbia. USA and Spain's match-up will come on Friday with the gold medal game coming on Sunday.
After Team USA recalibrated its program and took the embarrassment of a bronze medal in the 2004 Olympics to heart, the U.S. hit its stride of re-configuring its mindset and approach at the right time. It was at this time that Spain became one of the best basketball countries in the world on the backs of a deep guard pool and the Gasol brothers. It led Spain to facing Team USA in the 2008 gold medal game and the 2012 gold medal game.
In 2012, USA clinched the gold medal with a nail-biter of a victory over Spain, 107-100. We don't get that moment this time after Spain went 3-2 in group play and its team dropping the first two games kept it on Team USA's side of the bracket.
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