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Rio 2016: Spain edge Australia, 89-88, take home bronze

Led by Pau Gasol, Spain narrowly edged Australia in a game that went down to its final, contentious moments.

David E. Klutho-USA TODAY Sports

There were no Spurs in the anti-climactic gold-medal final, but the third-place battle between Spain and Australia featured two -- plus a dramatic and controversial finish.

Pau Gasol had a game-high 31 points and 11 rebounds in what might have been his last international contest, while Patty Mills scored 30, capping an impressive tournament for the Spurs' reserve guard that came just short of the team's goal of an Olympic medal.

At 36, Gasol showed he has plenty left in the tank heading into his first season in San Antonio. He was one of the most dominating players throughout, despite receiving plenty of defensive attention as one his team's only reliable scoring options.

Mills got little help from his fellow starters, who combined for 18 points, with former Warrior Andrew Bogut fouling out in just 14 minutes of play. Still, with under 10 seconds to go, the Boomers' hopes were high thanks to an Aron Baynes basket that gave them the 88-87 lead. On the next possession, Spanish guard Sergio Rodriguez drove at Mills, who appeared in position as his man began to stumble. Still, Rodriguez was awarded two free throws, both of which he was able to hit.

Here's a look at the play that had many Aussie fans up in arms:

It's a heartbreaking loss for Mills and his countrymen, but the Boomers should feel proud of the way they performed -- and even more hopeful for the future, with young guys like Dante Exum and Ben Simmons potentially getting in the mix.

For Gasol, it's another accomplishment in a remarkable international career. Spain' gold-medal hopes were curbed when his brother Marc, along with Serge Ibaka, were ruled out of the Olympics, so a bronze finish is nothing to snuff at.

Gasol, Mills and the rest of the NBA players in the Olympic field now get a bit of time off, while we can start counting down to the start of preseason on October 3rd.