Kobe, Gasol prep for gold medal game

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Pau Gasol #16 of the Los Angeles Lakers reacts with teammate Jordan Farmar #1 while taking on the Boston Celtics in Game Seven of the 2010 NBA Finals at Staples Center on June 17, 2010. Gasol is playing against some familiar faces in the Olympic basketball match between the US and Spain.

UPDATE: Spoiler game result below

Kevin Durant scored 30 points, LeBron James added 19 and the U.S. men's basketball team defended its Olympic title, holding off stubborn Spain 107-100 on Sunday for the gold medal — just as the Americans did in 2008.

Soon after the news leaked out that superstar center Dwight Howard was coming to Los Angeles, LA Lakers power forward Pau Gasol was bombarded with questions about his new teammate.

But right now, Gasol is thinking more about his old teammate Kobe Bryant.

He's trying to find a way that his Spanish squad can beat Bryant and the rest of the monumentally talented American team in Sunday's gold medal game in London.

Spain and the US will meet in a rematch of their gold medal game in Beijing in 2008. The Americans won that one — 118-107 — but it was close. Spain drew to within four points late in fourth quarter before the US pulled away.

Gasol led all scorers in the 2008 Olympic tournament with a 19.6 points per game average. He's fourth this year with an 18.4 average.

Friday night in London, Gasol led Spain's second-half comeback win night against Russia 67-59 in the semifinal game. He scored 16 points and grabbed 12 rebounds, both tops for the game, and led Spain's third-quarter comeback from an 11-point halftime deficit.

Spain will likely score a lot more than 67 points against the US on Sunday. But scoring points won't be the big problem for Gasol, his brother and Memphis Grizzlies center Marc Gasol, and NBA veterans Rudy Fernandez and Jose Calderon.

What will be a problem is stopping scoring aces LeBron James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. And Bryant and Clipper point guard wizard Chris Paul. And former UCLA stars Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook. And ... well, you get the idea.

The US team beat a solid Argentina team in the semifinals Friday — 109-83. Comparatively speaking, that was a close call for the Americans. So far, the US team has won its Olympic tournament games by an average of 36 points.

Kobe Bryant is averaging 11.4 points a game. His field goal shooting is down (42 percent), but he leads the Americans in free throw shooting (94%).

Chris Paul is leading the US in minutes played with 173 in seven games (24.7 mpg). He's also tops in steals with 17. Paul has 39 assists during the Olympic tournament, second to James's 41.

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