Saturday, August 23, 2008

Beijing Olympics - Day Sixteen/Seventeen - Fourth Straight Basketball Gold for US Gals; Redeem Gold for US Men

1:30 a.m. - This is really a Day 17 post, but I'll keep it here. I took a little nap during mountain biking (the coverage, not actual biking, which would be dangerous). I almost got up in time to bring you the start of the men's basketball gold medal game between the US and Spain. Spain is doing much better than in their 82-119 devastation at the hands of the US in pool play. The Spaniards lead 21-17 with 4-1/2 minutes left in the first quarter. Both LeBron James and Kobe Bryant are on the bench with two fouls. Navarro makes a free throw to extend Spain's lead to five, the largest US deficit of the tournament. Chris Paul gets a layup and gets fouled. The free throw closes the deficit to 22-20. Bosh blocks a shot. Gets fouled while shooting at the other end. So far Anthony has a couple of threes for the US. Bosh makes first. 83% from line. And second. Tied at 22. Great defense by Wade scrambles Spain offense. 24-second violation. Spain goes to zone. Lopez fouls Williams. His third. Position is short with Calderon out. Williams makes one. And another. US 24-22. Wade steal and dunk. 26-22. Long shot by Garbajosa. 26-25. Wade always bring energy and D to the game. Inside basket for US by Prince. 28-25. Garbajosa miss. US rebound. Rubio foul on Wade. Bad position. Wade to line. Makes one. Bosh tips in miss on second. 31-25. Marc Gasol makes inside shot. 31-27. Wade knocked to floor. Makes two. 33-27. 15 fouls called already. Nice inside move by Marc Gasol. 33-29. Prince makes middle jumper. 35-29. Lots of points so far. Whistle on US. Rubio makes two. 35-31 US. Wade drills three. 38-31. Wade steals and loses handle. End of first quarter. Great quarter by Wade.

I waited and searched all day for the women's volleyball gold medal game between the US and Brazil. Instead I saw a lot of track highlights from yesterday. Not sure where I went wrong. The game had to be on sometime. I think it was played early Saturday morning US time.

Looks like Bryant and James will be back for start of second quarter. Starting lineup back in for US. Offensive foul on Marc Gasol. Kobe makes three. 41-31. 4 of 5 for US behind three line. 12 of 16 overall. Howard pulls Pau Gasol down after losing him. Flagrant foul. Pau shoots two. Misses first. And second. Struggling from line throughout. Spain gets ball back. Long rebound comes out to Bryant for breakaway dunk. 43-31. US rebound. Bryant misses three. Bounces off backboard. Pau misses. Marc rebounds and makes. 43-33. Anthony makes three. 46-33. Steal by US. James headed downcourt. Fouled by Fernandez to prevent a dunk. James three off. Rudy Fernandez three for Spain. 46-36. Bryant stripped. Rubio fouled. Rubio makes two free throws. 46-38. Anthony drives into zone. Blocked. Kidd fouls Fernandez. No shots. Paul in for Kidd. Anthony foul. Wade in for Anthony. Kicked ball. Spain inbounds again. Pau Gasol move on Howard. Misses. US fastbreak with Kobe layup. 48-38. Pau follow 48-40. Paul misses layup. Howard called for push foul. Spain to line. Jimenez makes two. 48-42. Good Spain comeback. They were down 13. Back and forth with steals. James layup. Gets fouled. Misses free throw. 50-42. Wade steal and dunk. 52-42. Spain timeout.

Bosh rebounds miss. Wade hits three. He has 18. Playing in different universe. Reyes takes pass for layup. 55-44. Wade kicks to James for three. 58-44. Rudy F banks in a runner. 58-46. Bryant misses Bosh with inside pass. Good idea but bad execution. Fernandez drains long three. 58-49. Spain hanging in despite dealing with Wade. Prince in with 3 minutes left in half. Prince tips Bosh miss. 60-49. Mumbru fouled by Wade. Two shots. Makes both. 60-51. Spain foul. Wade makes three. 63-51. 21 for Wade. Made all seven field goals. Fernandez three. 63-54. Showtime between Wade and Fernandez. Paul makes a free throw. And another. 65-54. Nice inside passes. Layup for Reyes. 65-56. James has red, white and blue mouthguard. Bosh makes a free throw. Another. 67-56. Another Reyes layup. 67-58. Williams halfcourt violation. Holding on Prince. Fernandez makes two free throws. 67-60. Wade misses three. Navarro fouled on shot. Makes 1 of 2. Lane violation on Spain. Williams misses. Prince rebounds. Foul on Berni Rodriguez. Paul to line. Makes first. And second. 69-61. Spain turnover. Wade misses three at buzzer. Halftime.

Reyes makes first basket of second half. 69-63. Reyes air ball from close in. Jimenez fouls Bryant. Bryant air ball. No foul. James shot blocked. Fernandez misses. Anthony misses three. Howard rebounds and scores. 71-63. First field goal attempt for Howard. Reyes layup. 71-65. Travelling on Bryant. Three turnovers for US in 3rd quarter. Pau lefty hook. 71-67. Howard fouled on layup attempt. 48% from line for Howard. Barely scrapes the rim. Misses second. Tipped in by Anthony. Foul Marc Gasol. 73-67. Another miss. Bryant foul. His third. Navarro runner. 73-69. James misses. Spain rebounds. Miss on other end. US rebounds. Howard dunks. 75-69. Near turnover by Spain. Another Navarro runner. 75-71. US timeout. Spain shooting 60% from field.

Anthony misses three. Spain rebounds. Anthony steals. Gets layup. 77-71. Anthony hurt hand. Wade in for Anthony. Navarro misses three. Jimenez puts back. 77-73. Bryant misses. Travel on Rubio. Slipped. Paul and Wade in backcourt. Bryant to James for tough layup. Pau layup. James layup at other end. Fouled. Misses free throw. 81-75. Spain emerges from scramble. Great hustle by both teams. Wade blocks and fouls Marc Gasol. Misses first. Bosh in for Howard. Makes second. 81-76. Wade misses three against zone. US gets rebound. James passes inside to Bosh. Bosh fouled. Makes first. 82-76. Makes second. 83-76. Rebound by James. Ball fed into Wade inside. Gets fouled on shot. Makes first. First point of second half for Wade. Short. Bosh drops rebound. Paul rebounds Spain miss. Wade spins and makes. 86-76. Paul steals. Misses layup. Marc Gasol fouled. Before the shot. Would have been continuation in NBA. Navarro scores on drive. Bosh to Williams for jumper. 88-78. Steal by Williams. Offensive foul on drive. Alley opp to Pau. 88-80. Paul to Anthony for 3. 91-80. Navarro misses floater. Bosh rebounds. Wade slips. Travelling. 10 seconds left. Great drive and lefty layup by Navarro against Prince defense. 91-82 at end of three.

Navarro defended by Bryant. Williams misses. James fouls on rebound. His third. Tipped out by James. Navarro misses. Pau Gasol tips in rebound. 91-84. Bryant misses three. Alley oop to Gasol. 91-86. Anthony misses three. Fernandez makes three for Spain. 91-89. Crowd goes wild. Rooting for underdog in this one. 8 minutes left. Spain has the game they want. Timeout US.

Howard back in. Williams, James, Wade and Bryant. Tough drive by Bryant. 93-89. Foul on James. Four fouls. Steal. Bryant passes to Williams for three. 96-89. Huge basket. Wade fouls Jimenez. Third on Wade. Bryant to Howard for dunk. 98-89. Great work by Bryant. Fernandez left alone for 2nd three. 98-92. Kobe three. 101-92. Big run for Bryant. Howard near steal. OB to Spain. Paul for Williams. James saves rebound. James misses. Howard rebounds. James makes. 103-92. Fernandez dunks and fouled by Howard. 103-94. 21 for Fernandez. Makes free throw. 103-95. 5 minutes left. Long three by Bryant. Miss. Paul tips away pass for layup. Bryant blocks. US rebound. Howard misses layup. Fouled. First one off front rim. Make second. 104-95. Fernandez misses. Marc G rebound. Foul on Howard. Four on Howard. Two free throws for Pau Gasol. Bosh for Howard. Pau makes one 104-96. Another. 104-97. Paul misses three. Rudy rebounds. Paul makes while brother throws Bosh to floor. 104-99. 3 minutes left. Wade to Bryant. Makes three. Fouled. 107-99. Rudy Fernandez fouls out. Top scorer for Spain. Bryant makes free throw. 108-99. Navarro runner. 108-101. Bryant buzzer three. Miss. Jimenez three for Spain. 108-104. James to Wade for three. 111-104. Timeout Spain. Fabulous game.

Bosh, Wade, James, Bryant and Paul. 13 threes for US. Navarro fouled. Shoots two. Makes first. Misses second. Spain possession. Jimenez misses three. US rebounds. 1:20 left. Bryant runner. 113-105. Navarro miss. Bosh tips to Paul. 58 seconds. Navarro fouls Paul at 0:47. Makes first. 114-105. And second. 115-105. Kicked. Spain has ball with 41 seconds. Pau misses. Marc putback. 115-107. 33 seconds. Paul turns around rather than take ball to hoop. 26 seconds. Flagrant foul and technical foul on Rubio. Bryant to line for four free throws. Makes two. US timeout. 117-107. Kobe's 30th birthday yesterday. Big grin on Kobe. Coach K and Kobe hug. Coach K gets a small shower from a water bottle. Paul makes one free throw on personal. Misses second. 118-107. Bryant to bench. Spain steals and misses layup. Wade slips. Travel. USA chant from stands. James cheerleading. Spain dribbles out clock. US wins gold medal with 118-107 win over very game Spanish team. Bryant joins Phelps Award finalists. Props to Spain for a great, game effort. They couldn't have provided more worthy competition.

It's 3:28 a.m. in Baton Rouge. We need to leave the house at 8:15 a.m. Back to bed.

7:00 p.m. - Back to Beijing for the men's marathon, which is about 27 minutes old. Lots of Africans in the lead pack. Blistering pace by the leaders. Eight runners in lead pack, with Spaniard Martinez in the lead. Amazing to learn that no Kenyan has won Olympic gold in the marathon given that they've won countless Boston and New York Marathons.

Ethiopian Merga takes the lead at the 33 minute mark.

Now 40 minutes into marathon. Kenya Wansiru leading at 48 minutes. Seven in lead pack. Only 5 in lead pack at 55 minutes, including two Kenyans.

1:11 gone with five in lead pack. All from Africa. Ethiopia, Eritrea, Kenya (2) and Morocco.

The marathon dates back to ancient Greece. Its non-metric distance of 26 miles and 385 yards is the approximate distance from Marathon to Athens. Here's a Wikipedia link on the history of the marathon.

Same five runners in a pack at 1:16. Still the same at 1:21. Running in Mile 17. Pace is somewhere between 2:04 and 2:12 for the entire race. Lead pack stretching out a little at 1:25. Moroccan falling back a little. Now in mile 18 at 1:26. Ethiopia and Kenya running 1-2 with Ethiopian. Merga in front. Kenyan Wansiru almost even with him.

One question is how heat and humidity will affect Kenyan runner, used to running in cooler drier climes.

At 1:33 there are three together. Ethiopia, Kenya and Gharib from Morocco, who rallied back into the lead group.

At 1:35, Gharib falls back again. Merga and Wanjiru look like good candidates for medals.

At 1:39. Gharib catches up again. Pace is between 2:05 and 2:06, well below Olympic record of 2:09. Runners are past the 20-mile mark, aka "the wall". Analyst giving biochemistry lesson on "the wall."

Air temperature of 87 is way above normal for marathoners. Just reached 21 miles in 1:40:46.

Now at 1:46. Merga and Wanjiru in front of Gharib by a couple of seconds.

At 1:51, Wanjiru speeds up. Pulls ahead of Gharib in second. Merga dropped to third. Wanjiru should have better closing speed if he has anything left at the end.

Just two miles to go. Wanjiru running alone at 1:55. Gharib 13 seconds behind. Wanjiru has looked the best the whole way. Just turned on the road to the Birdsnest. Gharib holding second. Now at 1:58. Now at 2:00. Wanjiru's next goal is to break world record. Won't quite do it today, but probably will break Olympic record. Wanjiru looks a little more stressed, but he has run 25 miles. Lead is 19 seconds and growing. Birdsnest on Wanjiru's right. Lapping the rest of the field. Third place is more than 2 minutes behind. "Light frame and big engine." Nice turn of phrase. Makes me think of my daughter's question last night--do they have Olympic NASCAR? Making U-turn toward the stadium. Now making left turn into tunnel. Now in the tunnel. 2:04.30. Being led by a VW SUV. He emerges to the roar of the crowd. Circling the track. 2:05. Waving to crowd. Still moving beautifully. Samuel Wanjiru of Kenya. Now 2:06. Heading around last turn. 100 meters left. 2:06.32. Gold medal and new Olympic record. By almost three minutes. Gharib of Morocco gets silver in 2:07.15. Two minutes better than previous Olympic record. Ethiopians Merga and Kabiti are next. Merga leading, but Kebede running faster. Looks like Merga is OK, Kebede exhausted too. I don't know. Gap tightening. Kebede gets him easily. Merga can't finish running--almost walking. He had a kick. Merga had nothing. 2:10.01 for Kebede. Merga fourth, just barely walking. Official leads Merga off the track. Two Americans on track. Ritzenheim finishes in 2:11.59 in ninth place. Ryan Hall next in 10th. 2:12.32. Smiling winner Samuel Wanjuri enjoys the moment.

Men's platform diving. I watched some of this last night. Will be cool to see the winning dive.

Mitcham of Australia closes on China's Zhou on the second dive. Got four 10s and almost 98 points.

Third dive. 14-year-old Brit is European champ. His dive drew sevens and eights. Finchum gets sixes and sevens. American Boudia gets 75. Zhou of China gets 96+. All 9s and 9.5. He's the leader. Huo gets 91. Guerro of Cuba in second.

Boudia gets 81 on next dive. Zhou a little short. Flat feet while spinning. 92 points. Still in the lead. Mitcham. Awesome dive. 92 points. In 2nd place. Huo next. Overrotated a little. Big splash. 86 points puts him in 2nd by 5. Zhou ahead 20 in lead.

Boudia stuck on 75. Russian Gelparin. Great drive. 93.5. Zhou next. Fabulous entry. Analysts says no jump off platform. Judges like it. 93 points. Mitcham next. Great armstand dive and entry. 86 points from 9s. Now in second. 33 points behind Zhou. Galperin is third. One dive left.

Nice last dive by Finchem. 85 points. In 10th place. Huge dive. 3.8 difficulty. Came up short. Big splat and splash. Just 44 points. 7th place. Gelparin did great. 103 points. Got one 10 and one 8.5. Now Zhou. 3.4 dive. Little splash, but not straight entry. Bent knees on entry. Just 75 points. Opens door for Mitcham and Hou. 3.8 difficulty for Mitcham. Awesome dive. No splash. Straight in. Gets 112 points. 4 x 10s. New leader. Clinched gold. Can't be caught. Shock for Zhou and Chinese faithful. Hou dives next. Feet bent. Big splash. Might be out of medals. 86 points. Finishes fourth. Amazing final dive for Mitcham. The equal of Chen's dive in female competition. Matthew Mitcham of Australia wins gold medal.

Lots of candidates for Saturday Phelps Award - US women's basketball, Samuel Wanjiru, and Matthew Mitcham so far.
Interesting note on Samuel Wanjiru. Please note how his name spelling changed from Wansiru. Was spelled wrong in program. He informed everyone after he won the gold medal.

Womens 4 x 400-meter relay. Wide-open event. Sanya Richards anchors US team. In order from inside to outside are Nigeria, Germany, US (wearing red in honor of China), Russia, Cuba, Jamaica, Belarus, and Great Britain. Jamaica leads in second leg. Allyson Felix moves into lead. Monique Henderson next for US. 48.7 for Felix. Russia second. Jamaica third. Russia and Jamaica closing. Russia takes lead. Russia and US. Richards closing. Jamaica third. Sanya Richards runs down the Russian in the home stretch. Great stretch run for Richards. US wins in 3:18.54, by 0.28 seconds. Redemption for Richards, who lost the 400-meter individual race, finishing in third.

US is heavy favorite in men's 4 x 400-meter relay, particularly given that they took top three spots in individual race. Merritt runs leadoff. Wariner runs anchor. David Neville and 400-meter hurdle champion Angelo Taylor are the other two legs.

Australia, Poland, Russia, Bahamas, Great Britain, US, Belgium, Jamaica - inside to out. US has top ten times all-time. Merritt gets lead for US. Taylor running now. 44.00 for Merritt. US leads Belgium, then Bahamas. Neville running. Belgium still in second. Neville way ahead. 43.9 for Taylor. Wariner far in front. 44.1 for Neville. Wariner has anchored since Michael Johnson retired. Bahamas second. 2:55.39 is gold medal winning time for US. Bahamas second and Russia third. Olympic record. 43.2 for Wariner. Won by more than 2 seconds.

Men's 800-meter final. None from US. Lots of Africans along with Gary Reed of Canada. Some of the favorites didn't survive semifinals. Two Kenyans and two Algerians. Kenya and Sudan leading the way. Other Kenyan gets third. Reed can only close to fourth. Got too far behind. Will some names. Wilfred Bungie of Kenya gets gold, Ismail of Sudan, Yego of Kenya win silver and bronze respectively. Winning time 1:44.65.

Women's 1,500-meter final. American Shannon Rowbury is in the field. Smart girl. Two degrees from Duke. Jamal from Bahrain is heavy favorite. Other runners from Ukraine, Great Britain, Spain, Russia, Kenya, Morocco (2). No American woman has won a medal in this race since it was added to the Olympics in 1972. Jamal fourth after first lap. Rowbury fifth. Pack is tight after two laps. Standings unchanged. Jamal in front with a lap to go. Rowbury fourth. Field stretching out with Jamal in lead. Lagat of Kenya takes lead. Jamal second. Two woman race. Nancy Lagat wins gold easily in 4:00.23. Jamal fades badly. Ukraine gets silver and bronze. Rowbury finishes seventh.

Women's high jump. Vlasic from Croatia clears 6'7". Chaunte Howard third attempt. No good. Out of competition. Four jumpers at this height. Vlasic favored.

Men's 5,000-meter final - Bernard Lagat in this race for US. Underperformed in 1,500-meters. Didn't make the final. Has won medals for Kenya in previous Olympics. Kenenisa Bekele has to be the favorite. won the 10,000 meters. His brother Tariku is also in the final. Slow jog through one lap. Lagat thinks that Kenyans and Ethiopians will work together to keep him (an expatriated Kenyan) off the medal stand.

Back to women's high jump. Russian clears 6'8". Other Russian is out. Vlasic misses 6'8-3/4. Tia Hellebaut makes it and wins gold for Belgium. Favored Vlasic wins silver.

Back to 5,000 meters. Lagat dropping back at 10:20 mark. Now in fifth. Bekele leading. Four in front group. No medal for Lagat. Bekele and two Kenyans battling with two laps to go. 12:03 with one lap to go. Now just Kipchoge chasing. Kenenisa Bekele running away with it. 12:57.82. New Olympic record and gold medal. Kenyans are second and third. Lagat finishes ninth in 13:27. Bekele ran last mile of race in 3:57. Fabulous performance. Add Bekele to Phelps Award finalists.

Lisa Leslie(L) of the United States shoots the ball in a 92-65 win over Australia in the women's gold medal basketball game. The win was the American team's fourth straight gold medal. Leslie has been a member of all four teams. (Photo credit: Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

8:25 a.m. - What a fantastic finish in the baseball gold medal game between Cuba and South Korea. Undefeated in Olympic play coming into the game, the Koreans held a slim 3-2 lead as defending gold medalist and world baseball power Cuba came to bat in the bottom of the ninth. Somewhat remarkably, the Korean manager left his starting pitcher in the game. He gave up a clean single to the first hitter. Cuba's third place hitter laid down a perfect bunt to move the potential tying run to second. Their next hitter walked on some very close pitches that the announcers said would have been called strikes earlier in the game. Cuba's next hitter, the best in the tournament, also walked on a very close 3-2 pitch. I thought the pitch was low and outside, but the Korean catcher didn't, enough so to argue with the umpire and get thrown out of the game. At this point, the Korean manager had to replace his catcher. He took the opportunity to bring in a new pitcher too. A couple pitches later, Cuba's next hitter grounded a ball to the Korean shortstop, who started a game-ending gold-medal-winning double play.

The next event is the men's water polo semifinal between the US and Serbia. So far, the underdog Americans are hanging in with the powerful Serbians. Actually they're doing a little better than that with a 3-2 lead in the first period after two straight power play goals.

The news from water polo keeps getting better. Fueled by power play goals, the US has built a 7-4 lead in the third quarter. No one expects the Serbs to drown quietly, so the rest of this match should be nervewracking. The winner of this match will play Hungary in the gold medal game. Exclusion foul on US results in almost immediate Serbian goal. 7-5.

US shot skips over the cage. Serbian lob shot saved by US goalie Merrill Moses. Turnover by Serbia. Serbia steals. One minute left in 3rd quarter.

Dilemma. Women's gold-medal basketball started at nine. Headed there. Will check back on water polo during timeouts.

Australia is US opponent. They lead 13-12 in first quarter. Lawson ties game with a free throw. US leads 14-13. First lead of game. Long shot by Australia rebounded by Fowles. Lawson two. 16-13. Aussie shot from side. 16-15. Fowles loose underneath for layup. 18-15. Back to water polo.

Score still 7-5 with 7-1/2 minutes left. Shot clock violation by US. 7 minutes left. Exclusion foul on US. Shot hits crossbar. Another save by Moses. Power play over. Six minutes left. Offensive foul on US. Elbowing by US. Player ejection and short power play. Serbia timeout. Back to basketball.

Augustus at line. Makes first. Pride of Baton Rouge. #8 on Australia is a big woman. Makes second. 22-15 US. Drive and miss by Australia. Aussies with 5 seconds to shoot. Air ball. End of quarter. Aussies 4-17 in quarter.
Water polo.

Serbia shoots wide. 5-1/2 minutes left. US power play. Save by Serbia. 5 minutes left. Power play. Shot hits upright. Just missed. 4 minutes left. Center pass and US goal! 8-5. Goalie touched it but didn't get enough. Third goal for US star Tony Acevedo. Basketball.

Now 25-15 US. Australia scores on third shot. 25-17. Pretty move by Parker. 27-17. Bad pass by Aussies. Turnover and fast break for US. Layup by Catchings. 29-17.
Back to water polo.

Another US goal! 9-5. 3:18 left. Tough job for Serbia. Steal by US. Hungary has won last two water polo golds. Water polo their national sport. 2:32 left. Back to basketball.

Wow 32-17. Was 12-13 when I tuned in. That's a 20-4 US run. Aussie miss. Two from US on rebound. Aussies 5-28 from field. Pondexter scores
. 34-17. WP.

US scores again! 10-5. Shot from left side. No hope for Serbia now. 2:25 left. US 11th and 9th in last two world championships. Serbs very glum. Offensive foul on Serbia. US foul. 1:55 left. Serbia power play. Save by Moses. His 15th. US possession. 1:20 left. Empty possession. 1 minute left in game. Serbia power play. Two more Moses saves. Candidate for Saturday Phelps Award. Counting down from 8. That's it! US wins 10-5. Will play Hungary in the gold medal match.

Aussie at line. Lauren Jackson. Looks like a model. Makes one of two. US turnover on inbounds play. 38-25 US. Miss and US rebound. Fowles hit jumper off Thompson assist. 40-25. Snell for Aussie three. 40-28. Augustus misses. Aussie misses. Fowles to Seimone. 42-28. Aussies shooting 24% from field.

Fowles fouls Jackson. Parker in for Fowles. Jackson makes two shots. 42-30. Catchings misses. Lawson rebounds Aussie miss. Pulls up and makes jumper. 44-30. US shooting 62%. Air ball. Shot clock violation. Parker goes down hard. Stays in game. Lawson three. 47-30. 11 for Lawson. Aussies miss three at buzzer.

Back to the hardwood for the second half. US field goal and Aussie free throw makes it 49-31. Taurasi fouled on a drive. Makes two free throws. Jackson layup. 51-33. Thompson just misses a three. Putback by Aussie. 51-35. Leslie turnover. Short with three. Jackson rebounds and scores. Leslie fouls. US getting hurt on boards. US calls time. 51-37. To the dishwasher!

Back. Jackson sinks three to pull Aussie within 12 at 59-47. Thompson fouled on shot. She'll shoot two. Makes both 61-47. Catchings layup off steal. 63-47. Nice dribble move but miss. Fourth foul on Leslie. Taurasi already has four fouls. Fowles in. Not much drop off there. Forced shot. Lawson rebounds. Fowles to the line. Misses first. Makes second. 64-47. Foul on Lawson. Summerton to line for Australia. Makes one of three after extra shot for violation. Outlet to Parker. Fouled while shooting. Makes one. 65-48. Australia to line. Misses first. Makes second. Back in a few.

US putting Australia away with defense and transition baskets. Score now 77-56. Leslie fouls out, but rejects the shot. Fowles back in. Might be Leslie's last hurrah as Olympic basketballer. Will win four consecutive gold medals. Pass a little hot. US turnover. Jackson three. 77-61. 6 minutes left. Pretty runner across lane by Fowles. 79-61. Aussie miss and rebound. Air ball on drive. Uncontested layup by Fowles. 81-61. Jackson followup misses. Australia shooting 26%. Good hustle by Fowles after two misses. Taurasi three. 84-61. 4 minutes left. Taurasi fouls out. Catchings subs. Fowles rejects. Another Aussie miss. US foul on rebound. Short shot. 3 minutes. Aussie reach in foul. Smith misses three. Another Jackson miss. Held ball. Aussies possession. Finally a make. 2 minutes left. 19 years on USA basketball for Lisa Leslie. Jackson fouls out. 20 points. Parker at line. Makes one. 85-63. Players on floor. Foul on Australia. Catchings layup. 87-63. Makes free throw. 88-63. Largest margin. Aussie make. 88-65. Lawson bank shot. What a game for her. 90-65. 1 minute. Parker converts on drive. 92-65. One last miss for Australia. Parker couldn't decide whether to layup or dunk and missed at buzzer. US 92 Australia 65. Total domination of world's second best team by world's best team. Lisa Leslie never lost an Olympic basketball game. Team candidate for Saturday's Phelps Award.

Post-game notes. As a come-lately women's basketball fan, I enjoy watching the youngsters - Fowles, Augustus, Parker and Pondexter, moreso than vets like Leslie, Thompson and Bird. Still they were all great.

My favorite Olympic commercial is from all companies, Nike, because I get to watch some of Marvin Gaye's amazing rendition of the National Anthem, maybe the best ever by this legendary singer.

Germany beats Spain 1-0 to win men's field hockey gold. I watched the last two minutes.

Interesting moment in taekwondo. Defeated and upset Cuban kicked the referee in the head, violating as Jim Lampley described it, the first rule of taekwondo, never kick the referee in the head.

From field hockey we went to boxing and now synchronized swimming. The former hasn't been the same since Howard Cosell stopped covering it many years ago. As much as I disliked Howard as a football and especially baseball announcer, he knew boxing and supported Muhammad Ali back in the '60s.

Synchronized swimming seems to slip over the boundary between art and sport onto the art side. The women's volleyball final is later today. I'll be back for that.

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