RIO DE JANEIRO -- When you are draped in red, white and blue and representing your country at the highest levels of international sport, you hope you never hear the U-word.You know.Ugly.On this occasion, though, such a label legitimately had a complimentary connotation for the United States mens basketball team. The Americans found themselves in a semifinal scuffle with Spain on Friday, suddenly struggling to crack the 80-point plateau while the coaches were planning on triple digits, when they hushed all the media noise about the cohesion they dont have by grinding out an 82-76 victory to clinch a berth in Sundays tournament final.This was winning ugly.And it looked good on the Americans.I prefer to use the word hard, Team USA coach Mike Krzyzewski said on his way out of Carioca Arena 1.Everything was hard today.At the interview podium moments earlier, Krzyzewski did concede, thanks largely to a rash of technical fouls in the first half, that it was the most different game Ive coached internationally for the United States.Yet it was ultimately left to star forward Kevin Durant to do the math and embrace the grime that had to be flung for this victory.?Know-it-alls like yours truly foolishly said the trip would largely be kiddie-pool stuff, but Durant admitted: Its made this journey a little sweeter ... now that were in the gold-medal game.Fridays final margin of six points was closer than Team USAs previous two Olympic duels with Spain -- wins by 11 and seven points in 2008 and 2012, respectively, to take the gold in Beijing and London -- but the truth is that Durant and his pals had more control of the second half than they did in those victories.Team USA actually led wire-to-wire in this one, hounded Spain into 38.9 percent shooting from the floor and 30.8 percent shooting from 3-point range and, best of all, achieved something neither of the Krzyzewski teams that preceded them could claim.These Yanks, once they got past all the techs, demoralized the Spaniards to the point that they willingly shifted into moral-victory mode.We need to be very happy even if we lost, Spain forward Nikola Mirotic of the Chicago Bulls said, because we compete. We play so hard. At the end of the day, they beat us by just six points. Its not a big difference.There will be no scolding coming from Mirotics coach for such an admission. Spains Sergio Scariolo embraced the David-versus-Goliath narrative with more gusto than any of his players.Its like, making a comparison [to] club competition, if a team has 50 times your budget and you manage to compete and to stay in the game until the very end, Scariolo said. Which is an accomplishment.He wasnt finished.When youre talking about a team that has such bigger potential than yours, Scariolo added, more than thinking [about] what you missed to win, you have to be happy with what you did to reduce the gap.Yet it should be noted that Pau Gasol, not surprisingly, wanted no part of such talk.When asked if he felt that Spain had just squandered its best chance to finally beat the United States in the Olympics for the first time in 12 tries -- even with brother Marc Gasol absent through injury -- Pau didnt hesitate.I think so, he said. Thats just the way I feel. I dont think they are playing as well as other times they have played [in the Olympics]. Theyre still a very talented team individually. I just feel like if we would have been a lot sharper with our shots, move the ball a little better, if we would have boxed out a little more ... then youre talking about a whole different story.Gasol would have to settle for 23 points, eight rebounds and the warmest of wishes from Krzyzewski, who told Scariolo after the game that his fondness for both Gasol and Argentinas Manu Ginobili is boundless after coaching the Americans against those FIBA legends for the past decade.Pau, Krzyzewski said, is like the world statesman for the game.Coach Ks guys, meanwhile, move onto Sundays finale against Serbia at 7-0, making them the only unbeaten in the 12-team field. The average margin of victory thus far is a modest 21.4 points per game, but Scariolo sure made them sound invincible.Rebounds, blocks, intimidation, Scariolo said, citing what he saw as the main difference-making factors.Most of that, for the record, was sparked by DeAndre Jordan.Just one summer removed from the free-agent saga that earned him scourge-of-the-league status, Jordan played his way to the postgame podium next to Krzyzewski.Theres a strong chance, though, that itll be somebody else in Sundays final. With 10 first-time Olympians, including Jordan, there seems to be a different U.S. game-changer every time out, with this work-in-progress squad still learning to play through the pressure of knowing that a loss will never be forgiven back home.But heres the thing: Winning ugly is still winning.So maybe Krzyzewski was right the other day when he made the claim that no one will ask you anything else except if you won it all at the end of these Summer Games.Coach never says it like [outsiders do] ... that were not allowed to lose a game, Durant explained. If he says it, then Ill think about it. But he doesnt say it like that. We dont think about it like that. We dont anticipate sweeping through this tournament.Getting through it with unsightly stains and scratches and maybe even scars from those earlier scares -- but otherwise unscathed -- will apparently do. Cheap Ryan Getzlaf Jersey . 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Cheap Ducks Jerseys .com) - Following a late-game loss to the reigning NBA champs, the Toronto Raptors will look to sustain their recent high-level play as they travel to Indiana to take on the Pacers. You can win a race on your turns, and you can lose a race there too.Dana VollmerThe Flip TurnPhoto 1 of 4Five strokes out, I look at the wall and judge whether I need to make modifications to my strokes. Two strokes out, I take my final breath. I dont breathe on my final stroke so I can keep my speed. I use my last stroke to tuck into a ball.The Flip TurnPhoto 2 of 4You can win a race on your turns, and you can lose a race there, too. On my final stroke, I want my body to be in a straight line coming into the wall. I dont want my core to be too loose or too rigid. I dip my head and chest, tuck into a ball and use the water to help me flip. 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