Monday, Jan 30, 2023 | Last Update : 05:13 PM IST

  Rio 2016: US hoopsters gunning for three-peat

Rio 2016: US hoopsters gunning for three-peat

REUTERS
Published : Aug 21, 2016, 12:22 am IST
Updated : Aug 21, 2016, 12:22 am IST

The United States continued their reign over Spain with a scrappy 82-76 win on Friday to put them through to the gold medal final of the men's basketball tournament for a third straight Olympics.

The United States continued their reign over Spain with a scrappy 82-76 win on Friday to put them through to the gold medal final of the men's basketball tournament for a third straight Olympics.

The Americans will ride a 24-game Olympic winning streak into Sunday's final where they will take on tiny Serbia who will play for gold for the first time as an independent nation.

Serbia stormed to an early lead then held on to rout Australia 87-61 as the Olympic debutants steamed into the final.

With the two top-ranked teams, number one U.S. and number two Spain, both packed with NBA talent, the game had the familiar buzz of a gold medal final. The countries met to decide the gold at the previous two Olympics in

London and Beijing, with the US coming out on top both times.

The United States led from the opening tip-off but were never able to run away from a Spanish squad determined to end decades of frustration that has seen them lose all 12 meetings with the US team on Olympic or world championship hardwood dating back to 1936.

The Americans held 10-point or more leads in the second, third and fourth quarters but each time Spain would claw their way back into the game, keeping the outcome in doubt although the United States never appeared in danger of losing control.

Klay Thompson, one half of the Golden State Warriors splash brothers with twice NBA most valuable player Stephen Curry, broke out of his Olympic scoring funk in a big way, dropping a team-high 22 points, while Kevin Durant chipped in with 14.

But it was the improved US defensive play, and the work of DeMarcus Cousins on the boards pulling down 16 rebounds, that were singled out for praise.

While Serbia will be making their first appearance in the gold medal game, they bring a deep basketball pedigree to the final.

Location: Brazil, Rio de Janeiro