U.S. basketball players celebrate after defeating Spain in the London… (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles…)
LONDON — It wasn't easy, or particularly graceful until the fourth quarter, but the U.S. men's basketball team finally prevailed in the Olympics final.
Kevin Durant scored 30 points as the U.S. defeated Spain, 107-100, in the gold-medal game Sunday at North Greenwich Arena.
LeBron James added 19 points and Kobe Bryant had 17 for the U.S., which held a one-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
James scored on a dunk and hit a three-pointer as the shot clock dwindled, giving the U.S. a 102-93 lead with 1:59 to play. Then Chris Paul scored on a twisting, driving layup for a 104-93 lead with 50 seconds left.
When it was over, the U.S. team jumped up and down in a huddle near midcourt as "Born in the USA" played on the arena speakers. Many players grabbed U.S. flags from fans and held them over their heads.
The U.S. owned a slim 59-58 halftime lead after being continually burned by Spain's shooting guard Juan Carlos Navarro (19 first-half points).
Then Pau Gasol went to work in the third quarter as Spain briefly took a three-point lead. He had 15 points in the third quarter alone as Spain went into the fourth period with an 83-82 deficit.
Gasol cooled from there, though, and finished with 24 points.
The U.S. came into Sunday with a 12-1 mark in gold-medal games, its lone misstep the controversial 1972 final against the Soviet Union.
The U.S. also had the five highest-scoring games of the London Olympics, including its record-setting 156-point outburst against Nigeria.
Navarro finished with 21 points. Marc Gasol picked up his fourth foul in the second quarter but finished with 17 points.
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