The latest version of the USA "Dream Team" might not have been at their absolute best in the Rio 2016 Olympics, but they are one win away from winning a third consecutive gold medal in the men's basketball competition. Standing in their way are not the usual foes Spain, but Serbia.
USA got the better of Spain, their opponents in the last two finals at the Olympics, in the semifinals on Friday, in what was a scrappy, but eventually match-winning performance. Klay Thompson led the way as the Americans beat Spain 82-76 in the semifinals.
"It was just a real different game," USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said." And it was. It was all about the defence for the Americans and using their physical superiority a little more. DeAndre Jordan was a brilliant defensive force, picking up 16 rebounds to go with his four blocked shots.
"It's an amazing feeling now," Jordan said. "We really want to accomplish this."
"This is where we wanted to be," superstar Kevin Durant added. "We talked about it all summer and to be here for the final game, to win the gold, for all the marbles, we like our chances."
Those chances will depend on how well USA defend again. Serbia are coming off a comfortable semifinal victory, where they hardly had to break a sweat in an 87-61 rout of Australia. Due to that performance, the confidence amongst the Serbians will be high and the key for the Americans will be to take that early control, much like they did against Spain.
If they jump into a decent lead in the first quarter, then Serbia will find it difficult to stay with USA, such is the firepower that the Americans possess. Durant, though, is expecting another tough encounter in the men's basketball gold medal match.
"Coach never says that we're not allowed to lose a game," Durant was quoted as saying by ESPN. "If he says it, then I'll think about it. But he doesn't say it like that. We don't think about it like that. We don't anticipate sweeping through this tournament."
Where to Watch Live
The men's basketball final is schedled for a 3.45 p.m. local time (12.15 a.m. IST) start. The bronze medal match between Australia and Spain is set to begin at 11.30 a.m. local time (8 p.m. IST).
India: Star Sports. Live Streaming: Hotstar.
Serbia: TV: RTS.
Australia: TV: Channel 7. Live Streaming: Channel Seven Olympics.
Spain: TV: TVE.
UK: TV: BBC. Live Streaming: BBC iPlayer.
Middle East and North Africa: TV: Bein Sports Arabia. Live Streaming: Bein Sports Connect.