Team USA put to waste a sterling performance from Ricky Rubio as it gave Spain the boot following a 95-81 win to reach the semifinals of the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament on Tuesday, August 3.
Rubio erupted for 38 points to lead the Spanish, but the Americans withstood his outburst with a strong second-half showing as they remained in the running for a fourth straight Olympic gold medal.
Kevin Durant starred for Team USA anew with 29 points, 4 assists, and 2 steals to lead five American players in double figures.
Team USA will face the winner between Australia and Argentina in the semifinals.
Jayson Tatum backstopped Durant with 13 points and 3 rebounds, Jrue Holiday chimed in 12 points and 5 assists, while Damian Lillard put up 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 assists.
After a seesaw first half that ended in a 43-43 deadlock, USA opened the floodgates as they rained five three-pointers on Spain in a 22-6 run for a 65-49 lead – its biggest advantage of the game.
The Spanish had to answers for Holiday during that stretch, with the newly minted NBA champion unloading 11 points off three triples in that tide-changing run.
Spain bridged the gap to 4 points early in the fourth quarter, 65-69, but Team USA pulled away for good with a 12-1 blitz.
Zach LaVine also made his presence felt in the win with 10 points.
While the Americans distributed the scoring, Spain had limited options on offense, with Sergio Rodriguez and Willy Hernangomez being the only two other Spanish players in twin digits with 16 and 10 points, respectively.
USA 95 – Durant 29, Tatum 13, Holiday 12, Lillard 11, LaVine 10, Booker 9, Adebayo 5, Green 4, Middleton 2, Grant 0.
Spain 81 – Rubio 36, Rodriguez 16, Hernangomez 10, Claver 8, Llull 6, Garuba 3, Gasol P. 0, Fernandez 0, Gasol M. 0, Abalde 0, Abrines 0.
Quarters: 19-21, 43-43, 69-63, 95-81