Good news: Team USA led for the entirety of the 40 minute semifinal against Spain.
Not great, but ultimately pretty decent news: The U.S. was up 13 with 1:18 left after a Paul George dunk, but ended up winning 82-76, just a six point margin after Spain cut into their lead over the final 70 seconds. It’s really not that big of a deal if you like Bill James’ safe lead equation, but I would imagine that head coach Mike Krzyzewski isn’t super thrilled, either.
Pau Gasol led all scorers in the game with 23 points, while Klay Thompson led the American effort with 22. The big performance of the afternoon was easily DeAndre Jordan, who wrapped up 16 rebounds, including three on the offensive end. He also slapped four Spanish shots away from the rim and in his spare time scored nine points.
Former Marquette Golden Eagles great Jimmy Butler was, to be honest, kind of bad in this game. He missed all five shots from the field that he attempted, earning the wrath of The Sporting News’ Mike DeCourcy along the way. Butler did snare two offensive rebounds in his 13+ minutes of action, as well as dish one assist and come up with two steals.
The U.S. advances to Sunday’s gold medal game where they’ll play Serbia. The Serbian national team beat Australia, 87-61, in the other semifinal game. Milos Teodosic scored 22 to lead Serbia to victory. Team USA beat Serbia 94-91 in group play even though they led by as many as 18 in the first ten minutes of the game.