Philadelphia 76ers fans like myself had watched Andre Iguodala in the Olympics with pride - at least when he got to play. Now that Iguodala is going to leave the Sixers after he comes back from London, watching him in the Olympics is almost bittersweet. Yet he is still one win away from heading to the Denver Nuggets as a gold medalist, after Team USA pulled away in the second half yet again.
The Americans' semifinal match with Argentina on Aug. 10 went the same as pretty much every other game of theirs. By the end, the U.S. cruised to a 109-83 victory and overcame an early scare in the first half to get comfortable. Despite only being up by seven at halftime, Team USA used their second half and three-pointer magic yet again to breeze into the gold medal game.
Kevin Durant and LeBron James did much of the damage as usual, with a respective 19 and 18 points. But Durant got 15 of his points from three-point range, which led the way as the U.S. made 18 threes' overall. The team had to chuck up 42 three-point shots to do it, yet it still made things a lot easier.
As for Iguodala, since Argentina didn't completely fade away right away, he could only play 11 minutes off the bench. This was his first game since officially becoming a member of the Nuggets, in which he only took two shots, made one and had two fouls. But he will have a lot more responsibility once he comes to Denver.
Since the Nuggets aren't a powerhouse, this could be the first and only championship team that Iguodala ever plays for. It certainly doesn't look like the Americans won't be a championship team, with only Spain left standing in the gold medal game on Aug. 12. Although the Spaniards are led by Pau Gasol - who actually avoided getting traded from the Los Angeles Lakers in the Dwight Howard/Bynum/Iguodala deal - no one can see them hanging with Team USA for four quarters.
Argentina had two chances to do it in these Olympics and could only stay within range for one half both times. Lithuania was the only country to make the U.S. break a sweat in the fourth quarter, yet it is now long gone. Unless the Spanish pull one of the great miracles in Olympic basketball history, the gold medal game will be the final coronation for the Americans.
If/when that happen, Iguodala will enjoy being part of a champion for America - even though his country wanted him around a lot more than the Sixers ultimately did.
Robert Dougherty is a life-long Philadelphia resident and 76ers fan.
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- Sports & Recreation
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