And just like 2008, the star-studded Americans had to work for this one.
LeBron James capped one of basketball's most brilliant individual years with a monster dunk and a huge 3-pointer in the final 2:50 that finally wrapped up a close, back-and-forth game that few would have seen coming after the Americans had been so dominant for so long in London.
Yet four years after beating Spain 118-107 in a classic in Beijing, the U.S. found itself in another tight one, unable to ever really slow the Spanish down until the closing minutes.
Kevin Durant scored 30 points and James had 19 on a day he joined Michael Jordan as the only players to win the NBA title, regular-season MVP, NBA Finals MVP and Olympic gold in the same year.
Coach Mike Krzyzewski, who has said he's retiring as national team coach after restoring the Americans to their place atop world basketball, emptied his bench in the final minute