ESPN: Order is restored in international basketball. The United States is back on top, but not by that much anymore.
Culminating a three-year mission to end years of embarrassment, the U.S. Olympic team survived a huge challenge from Spain, winning 118-107 Sunday in the gold-medal game.
After overwhelming everyone for seven games, the Americans led by only four points with under 2½ minutes to play. Then the U.S. proved it could handle a close game that seemed would never come in Beijing.
Their prize: the first U.S. gold medal since the 2000 Olympics.
Argentina won the bronze with an 87-75 victory against Lithuania.
Dwyane Wade scored 27 points for the Americans, who found a much gamer Spanish team than the one it humiliated by 37 points earlier in the tournament. Kobe Bryant added 20 points.
In a game so void of defense that it felt more like an NBA All-Star game than one with a title at stake, the Americans had too much offense down the stretch. Bryant converted a clutch four-point play with 3:10 remaining, holding his finger to his lips to quiet the rowdy Spanish crowd behind the basket.
Wade added another 3-pointer that made it 111-104 with just over 2 minutes left, and only then could the Americans relax a little.
They began to celebrate during a break after some technical fouls on Spain with 26 seconds left, then celebrated at midcourt when it was over with “Born in the USA” blaring over the arena’s speakers.