LONDON, England (AP) — The road to gold for Lebron James, Kobe Bryant and company at the London Olympics yesterday was a little bumpier than expected.
The US basketball team led Spain by one point on the final afternoon of Olympic sport and was ahead just 97-91 when James dunked and then hit a three-pointer to allow the Americans to pull away for a 107-100 win in a replay of the 2008 final at the Beijing Games. Bryant scored 17 points.
In the final minute, US coach Mike Krzyzewski, in his final international game, took out his top stars who came to London determined to keep American basketball on top. When the final horn sounded, Krzyzewski locked James in a tight embrace as Bruce Springsteen's Born In The USA rocked the arena.
"We knew it wasn't going to be easy. We didn't want it easy," James said. "A lot of teams have won gold easy. We didn't want it that way," he said.
In the bronze final, Alexei Shved scored 25 points — 13 in the fourth quarter — and Russia won their first Olympic medal in basketball, 81-77 over Argentina.