Men's basketball: Potent US faces Spain for gold in Coach K's final Games

2012-08-12T00:00:00Z Men's basketball: Potent US faces Spain for gold in Coach K's final GamesThe Associated Press The Associated Press
August 12, 2012 12:00 am  • 

LONDON - Mike Krzyzewski's last game as U.S. coach will be for an Olympic gold medal.

As the American men's team prepared to play Spain for the Olympic title, Krzyzewski told The Associated Press that the game will be his final one as national coach, a position he has held for seven years.

He had left open the possibility of staying beyond London. But before practice on Saturday, he said these will be his last Games. Asked if he was sure, he didn't hesitate before saying, "yes."

Coach K, who has led Duke to four NCAA titles, took over a U.S. team in disarray in 2005, a year after it won only bronze in Athens.

Led by Krzyzewski, the U.S. got redemption and a gold medal four years ago in Beijiing, won the world championships in 2010 and can take gold again today.

"If we can win it, then it would be three major championships in a row. ... It would be a huge thing for our program," said Coach K, who would join Henry Iba (1964, 1968) as the only U.S. coach to capture consecutive Olympic golds.

In 2008, the U.S. beat Spain 118-107 for gold in a nail-biting final with lots of offense. The Americans are more potent now, averaging 116.7 points - just off the Dream Team's record of 117.3 per game. They're averaging 10 points more than the '08 squad, led by LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Carmelo Anthony.

"We have a lot of talent. Our team here is pretty ridiculous," Bryant said.

Spain brings size the U.S. can't match, with brothers Pau and Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka, but it had to rally for a 67-59 win over Russia to reach the final, saying afterward how rewarding it was just to get the gold-medal game while facing injuries.

"I'm not buying that," said James, who can join Michael Jordan as the only players to win the NBA MVP, Finals MVP, NBA title and Olympic gold in the same year. "It's the same story you hear from Boston every year. They're hurt, they're old, not going to be able to compete, and then next thing you know ... they're right there."

The U.S. routed Spain 100-78 in a recent exhibition, but Spain rested Marc Gasol and backup guard Sergio Rodriguez. James or Anthony will guard Gasol.

Today

• What: Gold-medal final

• Who: USA vs. Spain

• When: 7 a.m.

• TV: Channel 4 (live)

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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