BARCELONA, Spain — Gold medal at stake or nothing at all, the U.S. Olympic basketball team was bringing its best Tuesday.
Being back on the Dream Team’s turf required it.
Carmelo Anthony came off the bench to score 23 of his 27 points in the first half, and the Americans beat Spain 100-78 in a rematch of the 2008 gold-medal game — and possible preview of the next one.
LeBron James added 25 points, and Kevin Durant had 13, including 10 in the first 31/2 minutes of the third quarter to help the U.S. break open the teams’ final exhibition game before heading to London.
“We knew that this was a big game,” U.S. guard Chris Paul said. “When Coach K talked to us, he told us this was probably the biggest game here in Barcelona since the ’92 team was here, so we approached it like that, and it was a good win for us.”
The teams played a memorable gold-medal game four years ago, with the Americans pulling away for a 118-107 win after leading by only four points with under 21/2 minutes left.
This one turned out much easier once the U.S. controlled the final three quarters.
Pau Gasol scored 19 points, and Oklahoma City forward Serge Ibaka, a native of the Republic of Congo who became a Spanish national last year, had 16.
Both teams have been weakened by injuries, with the U.S. missing Dwyane Wade, Dwight Howard and Chris Bosh, all key contributors in Beijing, along with Derrick Rose. The Spaniards are without point guard Ricky Rubio, and All-Star center Marc Gasol, Juan Carlos Navarro and Rudy Fernandez have battled injuries this year.
They’re still the best two teams in the world and favored to meet again in the Aug. 12 gold-medal game. Spain might have a different look, as Marc Gasol was held out of this one while recovering from a left shoulder injury and backup point guard Sergio Rodriguez also sat out.