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Team USA takes on Spain
Now the pressure really starts for United States men's basketball at the Olympics.
Losing to France in the first game of group play wasn't great, but it ultimately didn't keep Team USA from advancing to the knockout stage. It won its last two games in group play, covering the spread in each one.
It's on to the single-elimination phase of Olympic play for Team USA, and that begins with a challenge. The Americans will play Spain, with tipoff at 12:40 a.m. ET on Tuesday. Team USA is an 11.5-point favorite at BetMGM.
Perhaps Team USA has gotten over the early yips that led to two exhibition losses and the loss to France in Tokyo. Some replacements to add size have helped. Getting Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Devin Booker after they were done with the NBA Finals has been a boost, as adding three NBA All-Stars should be. Team USA looked much better the last two games. It also didn't play any team as good as Spain.
Spain has legit NBA talent like Ricky Rubio, Pau Gasol and Marc Gasol. Victor Claver, a former first-round NBA draft pick, is having a nice Olympics too. Spain might have the size to disrupt the Americans, like France did. Spain got run over by the Luka Doncic train in a group stage loss to Slovenia, but it won its other two group stage games by double digits.
This will be the Americans' toughest test since France, and it's worth taking the 11.5 points with Spain. Given how sluggish the Americans looked before beating Iran and the Czech Republic, we can't just assume they beat Spain. And the points allow for a nice cushion. Sometimes the right bet isn't the patriotic one.
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