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Australia lose bronze medal game in a heartbreaker against Spain

22 August 2016

Australia's men's basketball team missed out on a bronze medal in Rio, losing by a single point to Spain in the dying seconds of this morning's playoff match.

With Australia winning by one point, a controversial foul was called on Patty Mills on a drive by Sergio Rodriguez in the closing seconds of the game.

National Basketball Association star Pau Gasol scored 31 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to power Spain over Australia 89-88 in a thriller that went down to the final possession.

Nikola Mirotic added 14 points, seven rebounds, two steals, a block and an assist.

Mills responded with a bucket of his own as part of his 30-point day to give Australia the lead back. Andersen drilled both of his free throws to give Australia an 86-85 edge with 35.3 seconds remaining.

It's the fourth time they've fallen short, having also finished fourth in 1988, 1996 and 2000. Australia had one final chance but the Spanish defence broke the play up to go home with the bronze medal. NBC's continued ban on Twitter videos and GIFs of the Olympics have made it very hard to find video of the play, so we will describe it as best we can. The Aussies scored 26 in the third quarter but just couldn't slow down the Spanish star. Fernandez had 10 points, including two three-pointers.

Spain's Pau Gasol (4) dunks the ball over Australia's Matthew Dellavedova during the bronze medal basketball game at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Sunday, Aug. 21, 2016.

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The match had become the Gasol and Mills show with the soon-to-be National Basketball Association teammates going basket-for-basket as the Spaniard moved to 25 and Mills to 23 by the end of the third quarter as the team in red held a 67-64 lead with 10 minutes remaining.

RIO DE JANEIRO (AP) - Not golden, not the Olympic medal it still covets, but Spain got something.

The Mills foul was not a blight on his game, as he impressed with a 30-point haul, while the experience of captain David Andersen told with 15 points for the game.

Spain won the bronze 89-88, but somehow the game itself should be awarded a gold medal for being the most exciting contest of the tournament.

"They fall over and get fouls and go to the free throw line the whole game", he said.

After Australia scored the opening basket, Spain never ceased the lead again, but the Boomers stayed within arm's length for just about the entire game.

Serbia will get their chance to make history when they face the U.S. in what's been labelled a "David and Goliath" gold medal match.