Basketball, I guess, will remain a world sport for the longest time yet and will linger on as the most popular in the Olympic games and elsewhere. It is always an event to watch and I must admit I am hooked to the boob tube whenever it is a match participated in by the US Team – the most talented team so far as shown by its win-loss record and the score margin it makes over the opponent.
Now, the Olympics basketball is reduced to a game of four scheduled as follows: Spain vs. Russia (Aug. 10 @ 1700 hrs); Argentina vs. US (Aug. 10 @ 2100 hrs). Tonight, therefore, is the big night for Olympic basketball you can’t afford to miss.
The final match is predictable on one side, that is, the US is most certain to compete for the gold against the Spanish or Russian team depending on the outcome of their match. If it is going to be a US vs. Spain encounter, which is most likely, it’s going to be a repeat of the Beijing Olympics and the result, with very high probability, might just be the same; the US Team getting the gold, and Spain for the silver. By then, the toss for the bronze medal will be between Argentina and Russia. Lithuania, the Beijing bronze medalist, lost its quest for a medal when it was subdued by the Russians in the quarter finals.
Who will face the US Team in the finals is the simple question with no simple answers. For one, both the Russian and Spanish teams have very talented players, next to the US, I would say. But if having the most number of NBA players is a plus factor, Spain is in the upper hand. Gasol brothers, Ibaka, Fernandez and Navarro are expected to power the Spanish team.
However, the Russians, knowing their never-say-die attitude and penchant for supremacy, will never give up the game and will fight to the end to win. They have sterling performances with two Olympic gold medals in the past to inspire its rightful claim for another gold. Kirilenko, Mozgov and Shved are the scoring machine for the Russian team.
Looking back, the US teams beat the Soviet Union in four Olympic finals in a row ending in 1964 but the Soviets beat the Americans in a controversial 1972 Olympics final. The US silver medal is unclaimed to this day.
The latter result sparked the creation of the 1992 US NBA Dream Team for the Barcelona Olympics while the Soviet Union breakup led to a Russian hoops hibernation for many years.
While we expect a repeat of the Beijing basketball finals (between US and Spain), we cannot discount the statistical probability of a US-Russia square-off in the finals as both teams remain unbeaten in their own respective brackets
That said, one thing is most certain at this point in time: the Russian-Spanish Teams’ match is just as interesting as the US-Argentinian game. But whatever it is, the NBA stars will always spark Olympic basketball to the fame and fire that it is.