by Devon Jeffreys, August 12, 2012
When he began his Olympic journey this summer, Deron Williams was happy to turn his attention toward winning again after a few years of NBA frustration. On Sunday, D-Will and Team USA won the most prestigious prize in their sport.
Team USA completed a second consecutive undefeated run at the Olympic gold with a 107-100 victory over Spain in the Men's Basketball gold medal game at North Greenwich Arena in London. D-Will is one of five players that played on both the 2008 team that won in Beijing and 2012's London gold medalists and one of just 18 players in history to win double gold with Team USA.
"It's an amazing feeling," he said. "Just as special as the last time. We put a lot of hard work, a lot of dedication into this moment. A lot of people doubted us; they said we were too small, we didn't have any size to match Spain. We proved everybody wrong."
Size didn't turn out to be of hindrance to the Americans, who actually outrebounded Spain 37-35 in the final. Of course they were also aided by 15 made three-pointers and ended the tournament with an outrageous 44 percent success rate from beyond the arc.
D-Will made 13 threes over the course of the tournament, including two in Sunday's gold medal finisher. He finished the game with six points — on 2-of-4 from the field — and one assist, a beautiful behind the back feed to Kevin Love that gave Team USA a nine-point lead with just under two minutes to go in the first quarter. Deron also made one of his two treys in that first quarter as the Americans rallied from an early five-point deficit to take a lead as high as 10. They took an eight-point edge into the second quarter.
After he picked up a pair of fouls in the first, D-Will's minutes were limited in the second quarter and Argentina made a quick 12-2 run in the first three minutes of the frame to take back the lead. Team USA answered and the game turned into a seesaw battle. But by the time Deron checked back in, the Americans had reestablished their lead. They began to pull away again with D-Will in the game and when No. 8 sank his second trey of the night with 1:53 left in the half, the U.S was up by seven.
"It's just a matter of taking what the defense gives you," he said of the team's three-point success throughout the tournament. "That's the fortunate thing on this team, we all get easy looks and it's just a matter of making them."
But Deron's trey was the last bucket of the quarter for Team USA as Spain ended it on a 7-1 run at the free throw line to claw back within one by the break.
In previous games during the tournament, the third quarter had been the one in which Team USA put the throttle down and pulled away from their opponent. But Spain was no ordinary opponent on Sunday and would not go away that easy.
Led by Pau Gasol, who scored his team's first 13 points in the third, Spain took the lead multiple times in the game's penultimate frame. But Team USA's front four of LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Kobe Bryant and Chris Paul had an answer for every Gasol bucket. The quartet scored all 24 of Team USA's points in the third and the Americans maintained a one-point advantage entering the final quarter.
In the fourth, Team USA found another gear and it started on the defensive end, where they held Spain to just three baskets in the first six minutes of the quarter. The defensive stand allowed the U.S. to run their offense in transition and rebuild a double-digit lead with 4:27 remaining.
Back-to-back scores by Spain pulled them back within two possessions, but James buried a dagger three to make it a nine-point game with under two remaining. Moments later, Paul put the icing on another gold medal win when he got to the rim for a beautiful layup with less than a minute to go to push the American advantage to 11 points. That was all she wrote for a Spanish team that has now lost to Team USA in the last two Olympic finals. Deron said afterward that the U.S. defense made all the difference.
"I think the defense took over," No. 8 said. "We got stops when we needed to, and we converted as well – we made some big shots. LeBron made some big shots, CP with that layup. It opened the game up for us."
D-Will finishes his second Olympic run sixth all-time on the U.S. Olympic assist list with 59 dimes. He's also tied with LeBron for fourth all-time on the U.S. list in three-point field goals made with 22. Over two Olympic tournaments, during which Team USA went a combined 16-0, D-Will averaged 18.5 minutes, 8.5 points and 3.7 assists per game and shot 39 percent from three.
- USA Battles Spain For 107-100 Win To Capture Olympic Gold Medal (USA Basketball, August 12, 2012)
- Additional Quotes >> USA 107, Spain 100 (USA Basketball, August 12, 2012)
- Gold Medal Stats >> USA 107, Spain 100 (USA Basketball, August 12, 2012)
- Talented U.S. may only get better (SI.com, August 12, 2012)
- Durant, James lead U.S. past Spain 107-100 for hoops gold medal (Associated Press, August 12, 2012)
- LeBron puts U.S. on top of the world (ESPN.com, August 12, 2012)
- Instant Analysis: Team USA 107, Spain 100 (ESPN.com, August 12, 2012)
- Team USA fights off Spain to win gold medal in Olympic rematch (Yahoo! Sports, August 12, 2012)
- Team USA beat Spain for gold, and that's all that should matter (CBS Sports, August 12, 2012)