Aug 19, 2016

    US and Spain meet in 'NBA All-Star' semi-final

    THE United States and Spain finally lived up to expectations, posting blowout wins on Wednesday to reach the semi-finals of the men's basketball tournament as France and Argentina lost much more than a game.

    While the US and Spain have struggled to reach their full potential at times on the Rio hardwood, Australia and Serbia have delivered much more than expected in also reaching the last four.

    Even though the US were the only team to finish group play without a loss, questions about their ability to claim a third straight gold swirled after three unimpressive narrow wins to close out the preliminary round.

    Those questions were answered in the form of a 105-78 rout against Argentina as the US extended their Olympic winning streak to 23 games.

    "We got our swagger back, offensively and defensively," Team USA guard Paul George, a three-time NBA All-Star, declared to reporters.

    Second-ranked Spain made a poor start to the tournament with losses to Brazil and Croatia before shifting into top gear with four straight wins, including a 92-67 victory over old foes France on Wednesday to ease into the last four.

    Basketball fans can now savour the prospect of a mouth-watering semi-final between the US and Spain that could double as an NBA All-Star game as both teams are stacked with NBA champions, All-Stars and most valuable players.