Basketball: Spain, U.S. set for a sizzling semi-final

Thu Aug 18, 2016 12:27am EDT
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By Steve Keating

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

While the United States 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 United States 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 U.S. 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.


Aug 17, 2016; Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;  USA guard Paul George (13) celebrators with USA guard Kyle Lowry (7) against Argentina during the men's basketball quarterfinals in the Rio 2016 Summer Olympic Games at Carioca Arena 1. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports