London Olympics 2012: Team USA Basketball Win The Gold After A Hard Fought Game Against Spain [RECAP VIDEO]
This was no Dream Team, this was reality. The gold medal was in doubt for the U.S. men's basketball team.
The Americans led Spain by only one point after three quarters, a back-and-forth, impossible-to-turn-away-from game that almost anyone would hope for in an Olympic final.
Especially, it turns out, the U.S. players.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We didn't want it easy," LeBron James said. "A lot of teams have won gold easy. We didn't want it that way. We're a competitive team, and we love when it gets tight. That's when our will and determination kind of shows. It was the same way in '08."
Same result, too.
The Americans defended their title Sunday by fighting off another huge challenge from Spain, pulling away in the final minutes for a 107-100 victory and their second straight Olympic championship.
Kevin Durant scored 30 points and James had 19 on a day he joined Jordan as the only players to win the NBA title, regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold in the same year.
A day that many NBA fans thought that they would never see has finally come, Dwight Howard has been traded, pending league approval.
News has just broke, through multiple media outlets that Howard has indeed been traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in a blockbuster deal and all that is left is a phone call tomorrow morning between the NBA commissioner and the four teams involved.
The deal involves the Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, and Orlando Magic. The reported deal would send Howard to the Lakers, Andre Iguodala to the Nuggets, Andrew Bynum and Jason Richardson to the 76ers, and Nikola Vucevic, Moe Harkless, and a first-round draft pick from the three teams, heading to the Magic.
The deal, which seems to help all the teams involved, will clearly put the Lakers back into a position to win their 17th NBA championship, and Kobe Bryant's elusive 6th ring.
After dispatching Argentina in the last game of the preliminary round, Team USA was more than ready for Australia in quarterfinals of the 2012 Olympics. Brimming with confidence, the Americans know they're the best team left in the tournament and the clear favorite to head back to the United States with a second consecutive gold medal.
Even though this appears to be Team USA's tournament to win, the fact of the matter is that there's still a chance teams like Argentina, Spain and Russia may be able to beat the heavily favored Americans at some point down the line. Team USA may have put on an unbelievable performance against Nigeria recently with an 83-point victory and setting all sorts of records, but they have proven to be vulnerable at times.
On Wednesday, Team USA took on Australia in a win-or-go-home situation. As usually, Kobe Bryant and company were up to the challenge as they were able to get the best of the Aussies, 119-89.
Up by just one point on Argentina at halftime of their final Olympic basketball preliminary-round game, Team USA needed someone to step up and take control of the game. Luckily, two of the best players in the world, Lebron James and Kevin Durant led the charge.
James dominated early in the third quarter and Durant started raining three-pointers, keying a 42-17 third quarter that saw Team USA take a 102-76 lead.
James scored seven of Team USA's first nine points to set the tone, and once the lead started to grow, Durant poured it on. He scored 17 third-quarter points, including a stretch of five three-pointers in a row, as the game became a blowout. Argentina never picked up Durant in transition, allowing him to walk into wide-open looks.
The defense was also ratcheted up for the U.S. in the quarter and Argentina had just 17 points after scoring at least 27 in the first two frames. In the fourth quarter, the U.S. emptied their bench, as did Argentina.
There were times last season when Boston Celtics fans wondered whether Paul Pierce would return for a 15th NBA season. The Celtics captain is returning, and he intends to play out his current contract, which includes a team option for the 2013-14 season.
Beyond that though, Pierce's future is anyone's guess.
"I think I am going to play this one out. I want to see what it feels like to be a free agent for once in my life. I think I am going to play this one out," Piece told The Boston Globe.
"A lot can change in two years. My body [may not] be where I want it to be, I could retire, a lot of things could happen. It's not about the money at this point. I love the game. I made as much money as I possibly can. It's about winning a championship and if I feel like it's the right thing to do, maybe so [come back] but I really don't know the specifics on the KG [Kevin Garnett] deal or Jason Terry's deal. If I solidify my third year, maybe they opt out, so it's about keeping your options open."