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At The Hoop Final

LONDON -- Wrapping up an amazing Olympics by taking in the men's basketball final between Spain and the United States. Spain gave the Americans all they could handle in Beijing, hanging close until the final minutes before bowing, 118-107.

I don't see Spain playing them quite so close over 40 minutes. This U.S. team is better than the 2008 version, mainly because LeBron James is a much more complete and dominant player, and Kevin Durant is on the team and virtually unstoppable.

The U.S. is vunlerable defensively in the middle. Tyson Chandler is their only true center and when Chandler is out, teams attack the post, where modest defensive talents like Carmelo Anthony are forced into the uncommon role of major post defenders.

Spain needs to establish the Gasol brothers, Pao and Marc, to have a chance. It will be imperative for Jose Calderon, the veteran point guard, to have an efficient, productive game as a playmaker. The Spanish also need to prevent the U.S. from forcing turnovers in the middle of the floor and getting their devastating fastbreak in gear.

It's a tall order. Time for tipoff.

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