U.S. beats Spain in basketball tune-up

  • July 24, 2012 - 8:33 PM

Gold medal at stake or nothing at all, the U.S. Olympic basketball team was bringing its best Tuesday.

Being back on the Dream Team's turf required it.

Carmelo Anthony came off the bench to score 23 of his 27 points in the first half, and the Americans beat Spain 100-78 in a rematch of the gold-medal game -- and possible preview of the next one.

LeBron James added 25 and Kevin Durant had 13, including 10 in the first 3 1/2 minutes of the third quarter to help the U.S. break open the teams' final exhibition game in Barcelona before heading to London.

"We knew that this was a big game," U.S. guard Chris Paul said. "When Coach K talked to us, he told us this was probably the biggest game here in Barcelona since the '92 team was here, so we approached it like that and it was a good win for us."

The teams played a memorable gold-medal game four years ago, the Americans pulling away for a 118-107 victory after leading by only four points with under 2 1/2 minutes left.

This one turned out much easier once the U.S. controlled the final three quarters.

"It was a good test for us tonight, but the exhibition games are over, the friendlies are over and we look forward to the real challenge of going to London," James said.

Pau Gasol scored 19 points and Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka, a native of the Republic of Congo who became a Spanish national last year, had 16.

Both teams have been weakened by injuries, with the U.S. missing Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh, all key contributors in Beijing, along with Derrick Rose. The Spaniards are without Timberwolves point guard Ricky Rubio, and All-Star center Marc Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez have battled injuries this year.

They're still the best two teams in the world and favored to meet again in the Aug. 12 gold-medal game. Spain would have a different look, as Marc Gasol was held out of this one while recovering from a left shoulder injury and backup point guard Sergio Rodriguez also sat out.

"Well, it was definitely a game that we would have loved to play better as a team," Gasol said. "We made too many mistakes which they capitalized and they played their game. They're a quick unit, very athletic and once they were able to convert a few fast-break opportunities due to our turnovers, it was hard for us."


• Serena Williams says she feels "really good" and is ready to go for another title at Wimbledon. But whether it's for three Olympic golds or just two is still up in the air. Williams pulled out of a World Team Tennis match in Washington last week to rest her back before the Olympics. She said she doesn't have any injury concerns as she prepares for a quick return to the All England Club.

She won her fifth Wimbledon title there this month and also teamed with sister Venus to win the doubles tournament. The Williams sisters will be defending their gold medal in doubles, but team officials say they won't pick players for mixed doubles until next week.

• Brazil starting goalkeeper Rafael has been ruled out of the men's Olympic squad after injuring his right elbow in a practice session just two days before the team's opening match. Brazil will begin its quest for its first Olympic gold medal in football against Egypt on Thursday at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales.

• More than 100 athletes have been kept out of the Olympics because of doping suspensions. World Anti-Doping Agency President John Fahey announced the results of a program designed to test athletes under suspicion before they arrived in London. In the six months to mid-June, at least 107 athletes drew doping bans, ruling them out of the games. Fahey acknowledged that perhaps not all would have qualified to compete.

Prince Harry's office says he will attend the women's beach volleyball event Aug. 8 -- the day the gold medal is awarded. Tickets for the event have been one of the most sought after in the games.

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