Australia vs. Spain (-7, 163)
With the disappointment of yet another loss to the powerhouse Americans in semifinal action weighing on them, Spain will have to settle for a spot in the bronze-medal match Sunday against Australia. The Spanish are decisive favourites in this one, though they may be slowed by a lack of motivation after suffering an 82-76 loss to the U.S. in Friday’s semifinal matchup.
The Australians will be looking to regroup after being dominated from start to finish in an 87-61 rout at the hands of Serbia in the other semifinal. Australia managed just 14 points in the first half against the Serbians, and will need a much stronger effort to hang in against Spain. Australia is looking for its first Olympic medal in men’s basketball, having finished fourth three times.
TV: 10:30 a.m. ET, NBC
Renae Inglis is a star netballer and the wife of Australia guard Joe Ingles, who plays for the NBA’s Utah Jazz.
ABOUT AUSTRALIA: Nothing went right on the offensive end against Serbia, as the Australians shot just 6-for-29 (21 percent) from the field in the first half while not attempting a single free throw. Patty Mills led the way with 13 points for Australia, which finished at 33.3 percent for the game while connecting on just four of their 31 attempts from beyond the arc. The Aussies entered with the best shooting rate (51.7) in the tournament.
ABOUT SPAIN: A sluggish start was the Spanish side’s undoing against the defending Olympic champions, as they fell behind by nine points after the opening quarter and couldn’t recover. Their work on the glass left much to be desired, as the Americans out rebounded them 53-41 – including a whopping 21 boards coming on the offensive end. Pau Gasol led the way with 23 points and eight rebounds in defeat.
* The teams have split four meetings since 1984, with Spain prevailing 82-70 in their most recent encounter four years ago.
* Australia has a significant advantage in points in the paint through seven games, averaging 43.7 compared to Spain at 33.1.
* Gasol leads the team in tournament scoring at 17.9 points per game, while Mills is the leading scorer for Australia at 17.0.
* Australia G Matthew Dellavedova is second in the tournament in assists (6.9), but had just two helpers against Serbia.
Serbia vs. United States (-14.5, 181)
A plucky Serbian side came closest to handing the United States a loss in preliminary-round play. They’ll need to be even better to achieve the task this time around as they face a highly motivated American team in Sunday’s gold-medal showdown. Serbia won just two of five games in the group stage, but rolled past Australia 87-61 to reach the final.
They’ll face all they can handle against the U.S., which seized an early lead and used intense defensive pressure to subdue Spain 82-76 in its quest for a third consecutive Olympic championship. Klay Thompson poured in 22 points while DeAndre Jordan was a force with nine points, 16 rebounds and four blocks. The U.S. has won 74 straight international games.
TV: 2:45 p.m. ET, NBC
They don’t get along so well now, but Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson once dated model Hannah Stocking.
ABOUT SERBIA: Sleep on the Serbians at your own risk, after they throttled an Australian team that had defeated them by 15 points in group play. Milos Teodosic led the way with 22 points for the Serbians, who shot a stunning 53.3 percent from the field and handily outrebounded their foes by a 43-30 margin. Most importantly, none of the Serbian players spent more than 28 minutes on the floor – giving the core group some much-needed rest.
ABOUT THE U.S.: Friday’s semifinal score flattered the Spaniards, who trailed by as many as 15 points in the fourth quarter before staging an ultimately futile rally. The Americans, who had struggled to play elite defence throughout the tournament, held the high-octane Spanish side to 38.9 percent from the floor en route to their 16th finals appearance in the 18th Olympic tournament in which they have competed.
* Both teams rely heavily on their reserves, with Serbia’s bench averaging 41.1 points per game and the American second-stringers at 40.0.
* The U.S. has a significant rebounding edge through seven games, averaging 44.3 boards per game compared to Serbia at 36.4.
* The U.S. has won its last three gold-medal finals by an average of 9.3 points, after winning the final by an average of 27.5 points over its previous four gold-medal victories.
* Serbia has the highest free-throw percentage (77.7) of the four remaining medal-contending teams.