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Team ESP
21/08/2016
Game Report
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Spain edge out Australia in thriller to take bronze

RIO DE JANEIRO (Rio 2016 Olympic Games) - Spain held off Australia, 89-88, in the Bronze Medal Game of the Olympic Basketball Tournament at Carioca Arena 1 on Sunday.  

Sergio Rodriguez hit a pair of free-throws with 5.4 seconds to put the European champions in front 89-88 and the Boomers couldn't get a shot off as time ran out.

With the win, the Spaniards secured a third consecutive medal at the Olympics, after winning silver in 2008 and 2012. The Boomers meanwhile fell just short of taking their first-ever podium finish at the Games.

The teams went back and forth especially in the second half and there was little to separate them.

Spain led 23-17 at the end of the first quarter and stretched that to 40-28 with 4:12 left in the first half. However, Australia fought back and a 10-0 run got them within 40-38 at half-time.

Rodriguez hit a three-pointer to open the fourth quarter and put Spain up 70-64 but Australia scored the next six points, the last two of which came on Brock Motum's emphatic dunk over Pau Gasol with 8:34 left to play.

Gasol had a spectacular play of his own as he followed a missed Rodriguez lay-up and slammed it home with two hands to edge Spain back in front 83-82 with 1:51 remaining.

After Patty Mills and Rodriguez traded baskets, David Andersen hit a pair of free-throws for an 86-85 lead with 35.3 seconds to go, only for Gasol to make good on a pair of his own at the other end. 

A broken Australia play resulted in Aron Baynes scoring inside for an 88-87 edge with 9.7 seconds but at the other end Mills was called for a foul on Rodriguez as he drove to the basket. The Spaniard hit both attempts from the charity stripe with 5.4 seconds, making it 89-88. After a timeout, Australia inbounded the ball but a deflection caused it to go into the backcourt and time expired. 

Turning Point: In such a close game, decided on one play, Australia's inability to get control of the ball and get in the dying seconds is likely to haunt them.

Stats Don't Lie: The game featured 19 lead changes and 14 ties, and that was a complete reflection of just how close and competitive it was, particularly over the course of the third and fourth quarters.

Hero: Rodriguez sank the game-winning free-throws and ensured that Spain didn't go home empty-handed. A bronze medal is a good "consolation" for a team that reached the Gold Medal Game at the previous two Olympics. Gasol and Mills were both heroes for their respective teams on the day, the former finishing with 31 points and 11 rebounds, while Mills had 30.

The Bottom Line: This was arguably one of the most exciting games of the competition.

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