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» Monday, August 13 2012
Kurt Rambis: Congrats to #Lakers Pau Gasol & Spain on winning Silver. Great to know that Basketball is loved by sports fans worldwide #Olympics @Pau Gasol Twitter
Leading up to Sunday's gold-medal game, as Chris Paul memorably said, Durant's teammates occasionally had "to yell at him to shoot the ball." Yet he had stopped deferring by the time Team USA was confronted by a stubborn Spain in the deciding game and recognized his own growth afterward. "When we first got together, I was passing those shots up, making unnecessary dribbles and messing our offense up," Durant said. "I didn't want to be the guy taking all those shots, the one guys didn't want to be playing with." ESPN.com
Pretty much every time he was asked at these Olympics, James would always bat the questions away, saying: "Let me get through this first." If anything wore on him this summer, it was the daily media grind, with Team USA besieged by reporters from all over the world before practices and after games. Those were obligations that James always fulfilled but also the only part of the trip that made him look as weary as you'd expect for someone who played 85 regular-season and playoff games in a lockout-compacted season and then had to report to his national team after just a couple of weeks off. ESPN.com
Pat Riley, on LeBron James' gold-medal quest, "I think both Micky and I had a great sigh of relief that he got through the Olympics without getting hurt or anything happening and also winning the gold medal. It just sort of completes a tremendous turnaround for him. He did it, and he did it by looking at himself in the eye, looking in the mirror, taking stock of what it was that he may not have done last year, on the court, off the court, and this year he had a perfect run. We're happy for him. We love him to death, obviously." Sulia
Despite opposition to the concept floated this summer by Stern, league sources caution that the commissioner's level of determination to make the World Cup the coup de grace of his commissionership should not be underestimated. Stern has told associates recently that a World Cup tournament with veteran NBA stars "has the potential to generate billions," a person with knowledge of the conversations told CBSSports.com. And the point will be driven home to the players in the coming months that, if billions are generated, "The players will get their share." CBSSports.com
In fact, FIBA secretary general Patrick Baumann said Saturday in London there are no plans to change the age limit for the Olympic basketball tournament any time soon. And the biggest American stars have been across-the-board against the idea. Maybe they haven't been fully debriefed. Maybe they haven't yet received the memo about how much money the owners and commissioner David Stern believe a basketball World Cup could generate. Hint: The number begins with a "B," as in "billion." CBSSports.com
Marc Stein: LeBron clearly unsure about Rio in 2016, but Melo sure sounds up for being USA's first four-time hoops Olympian: "I'm young! I'm only 28" Twitter
It is also the last Olympic stop for Bryant, who turns 34 this month. "I'm definitely not playing" in 2016, he said after scoring 17 points against Spain. "We have a lot of talented players coming up and hopefully we'll continue to grow our program, continue to mentor the young fellows coming up . . . and continue to carry on the tradition." Los Angeles Times
But the American men’s basketball program has figured out the game, two Olympics after failing to win a gold medal for the first time since pros were introduced in 1992. In 2008, they had enough. In 2012, they had more than enough. “We were close, but you have to play almost a perfect game against them to be able to beat them for 40 minutes,” said Spanish big man Pau Gasol, who had 24 points, eight rebounds and seven assists in Spain’s 107-100 loss to the United States in the gold-medal game at the London Olympics. “They’re very talented, they’re very gifted players, and they can score in bunches.” National Post
Spain did not stop fighting, though, and got to within six points twice. In 2008, this was Bryant’s time to create the necessary plays, and he did it. This time it was LeBron, whose play has simply reached a place where he has no doubt remaining as a basketball player. First he exploited the loose box-and-one to cram home a dunk; on the next possession, with the 7-foot Marc Gasol in his face, he pulled up a three-pointer over the big man, and splashed it home. Awful shot selection, really, but it made it 102-93 with two minutes left. “They had to play one of their best games to beat us,” said Spain’s Jose Calderon, who went scoreless. National Post
“He’s the best player, and he’s the best leader, and he’s as smart as anybody playing the game right now,” Krzyzewski said of James. “We’ve developed a really close bond because I rely on him to do that for me.” Washington Post
"It's sweet to have this gold medal around your neck," said Paul. "But it's tough, because you don't get this opportunity anymore. I hate that in a couple months these guys will be my enemies. This is the funnest time of my life." SI.com
Spain had overcome the absence of Marc Gasol (17 points) for all but 17 minutes, the result of picking up a fourth foul prematurely in the first half. "Probably it was a mistake," said coach Sergio Scariolo, who referred to it as the kind of risk one takes in hope of upsetting a power like the U.S. The benefit of the benching was the defensive presence of Serge Ibaka, who came off the bench to serve as a kind of deterrent to James. In the fourth, said Pau Gasol, "We tried a new defense that we really didn't practice, and they made us pay for our mistakes." The defense was a box-and-one, and when James faked a handoff, two defenders went for the fake opening a clear path which James used to drive for a dunk. On the next possession, James canned a three over Marc Gasol for a 102-93 advantage. SI.com
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