USA vs Spain Semifinals Preview

The Men’s National Team will face Spain on Friday with the winner advancing to the championship game on Sunday.
by Dan Lovi

The U.S. will face a familiar foe during Friday’s semifinals contest, meeting Spain for the third consecutive time in Olympic bracket play.

In 2012’s Olympic final, Team USA narrowly defeated Spain, 107-100, thanks in large part to Kevin Durant’s 30-point outing. Durant and now four-time Olympian Carmelo Anthony stand as the only remaining players from the 2012 U.S. team, whereas the Spanish team has remained largely the same.

Pau Gasol, who is averaging 17 points and a tournament-leading 8.7 rebounds per game, leads the No. 2-ranked opposition. The veteran center is shooting at an impressive 56-percent clip from beyond the arc, trailing only Durant in the Olympics.

The Spanish backcourt is comprised of guards Ricky Rubio, Sergio Rodriguez and Jose Calderon.

After falling in its first two games, Spain has been red-hot, beating its next four opponents by an average of 25 points. Team USA, meanwhile, dominated its first two contests before struggling in its last three matches of preliminary play. USA returned to its triumphant ways in the quarterfinals, defeating Argentina decisively, 105-78.

In Wednesday’s quarterfinals victory, DeMarcus Cousins appeared as a reserve for the first time in Rio and provided a spark for the U.S.

Following his best game of the tournament, Boogie will now face Spain’s talented big men, including Gasol and sharpshooter Nikola Mirotic, who’s fresh off of a 23-point performance.

The U.S. leads Spain in all major offensive and defensive categories with the exception of defensive rebounds (28.7-28.2) and blocks per game (3.3-2.7).

Friday’s semifinal will telecast at 11:30 a.m. PDT on NBCSN with the victor facing the Serbia-Australia contest winner in the championship game on Sunday.

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