US hoops back on top

The USA superstars beats Spain 118-107 to win the men's Olympic basketball tournament.

The USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski wears his players' gold medals after they defeated Spain in the men's basketball finals at the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games.
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BEIJING // The USA's men's side beat Spain 118-107 to win Olympic gold today. Culminating a three-year mission to end years of embarrassment, the US survived a huge challenge from Spain. After overwhelming everyone for seven games, the Americans led by only four points with under two-and-a-half minutes to play, then proved they could handle the close game that seemed would never come in Beijing. Their prize: the first USA gold medal since the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. "Much respect to Spain, but the US is back on top again," star player LeBron James said. Dwyane Wade scored 27 points for the Americans, who found a much gamer Spanish team than the one they humiliated by 37 points earlier in the tournament. Kobe Bryant added 20 points. In a game so devoid of defence that it felt more like an NBA All-Star game than one with a title at stake, the Americans had too much offence for their Spanish counterparts. Bryant converted a clutch four-point play with 3:10 remaining, holding his finger to his lips to quieten the rowdy Spanish crowd. Wade added another three-pointer that made it 111-104 with just over two 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. "I'm proud of our guys. We played with great character in one of the great games in international basketball history, I think," the USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said. Argentina won the bronze medal game with an 87-75 victory over Lithuania.