Team USA Men's basketball faces Spain today in the gold medal game on the final day of the 2012 London Olympics. The game takes place at 9am eastern and will be shown live on NBC.
For the United States gold has always been the only acceptable outcome. They entered this tournament as such overwhelming favorites, its possible that only US women's basketball was a greater favorite in any team sport at these games. The ladies did their job, now its the men's turn. With most betting houses in London installing the US as over 20 point favorites, Lebron James and co will take on the second best international basketball team in the world, Spain. James said that his is the matchup everyone has been wanting.
"Everyone said that this is the game they wanted to see," said James. "We look forward to it. We're happy as a team we're able to be back in this position. We've got to defend, we've got to rebound, we've got to share the ball."
Lebron, has a chance to put the cap on one of the great years a basketball player has ever had. He's already won NBA MVP, an, NBA Finals MVP, an NBA title and now potentially an Olympic gold medal. It's a feat only ever completed by the great Michael Jordan.
US vs Spain is a rematch of the 2008 Beijing finals, which the US won 118-107. This US team has been better than that 2008 squad so far averaging an extra 10 points a game. Whether or not Spain is better is another question. They will be without star PG Ricky Rubio, who really used those 2008 games as his coming out party on the international stage and could have been the NBA rookie of the year last season had he not gotten injured.
However, while Rubio is a loss, Marc Gasol is a big gain. The brother of Lakers' star Pau, Marc was on that 2008 team but was nowhere near the player he is today. He was an NBA All-Star last season and along with his brother and Thunder star Serge Ibaka, Spain boasts a pretty formidable front line that could cause some problems for the size challenged US.
Still, it's tough to see how Spain can slow down the US offense if one of those guys plays the 3 and has to deal with the likes of Lebron James or Carmelo Anthony. It's also hard to see how Spain can defend the white hot shooting Kevin Durant or the US trio of PGs in the front court.
For Anthony, today will be about more than proving this team is the best in the world right now, but also the best of this era, which includes the 2008 gold medal team.
"We want to win. It don't matter. We still believe that if we win by one or two points, we're still going to believe that this team is better than '08," Anthony said.
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