U.S. men’s Basketball Olympics team overcomes slow start, beats Spain in Olympic quarterfinals
TOKYO — The U.S. men’s basketball team is moving on to the Olympic semifinals after surviving a stiff but not
unexpected challenge from Spain in a 95-81 victory.
Trailing by as many as 10 points late in the second quarter, Team USA rode Kevin Durant to a 36-10 run that
spanned both halves and eventually wore down the Spanish team, which got a 38-point effort from point guard
As brilliant as Rubio was, however, he did not have the luxury of playing alongside multiple NBA All-Stars who
showed up Tuesday with intensity on both ends of the floor and a commitment to moving the ball instead of settling for contested jumpers.
Durant led Team USA with 29 points, including a trio of threes in the first four minutes of the second half that
helped turn a tied game into one that the Americans had full command of. The U.S. led by 16 with 4:33 remaining
in the third quarter, though it had to survive one more Rubio-fueled spurt by Spain that kept it within range at
69-63 heading into the fourth quarter.
Tuesday in Tokyo: Rai Benjamin.
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Ultimately, Team USA had too many answers as Spain’s players outside of Rubio shot 16-for-44. Still, it was only
an eight-point game with four minutes left, forcing the U.S. to continue making shots to put the game away. Jrue
Holiday finally landed the knockout blow with 2:20 remaining, hitting a three to extend the lead to 13 points.
Holiday (12 points) was one of five U.S. players in double figures, along with Jayson Tatum (13), Damian Lillard (11) and Zach LaVine (10).
This is the first time Spain will leave the Olympics without a medal since 2004, having lost to the U.S. in the
championship match in 2008 and 2012 and settling for the bronze in 2016. The Spaniards came into this event
ranked No. 2 by FIBA on the strength of their title at the 2019 Basketball World Cup, so it was no surprise they
presented some difficulties for the American team.
The U.S. will play the winner of Australia-Argentina in the semifinals.