By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - The United States continued their reign over Spain with a grinding 82-76 win on Friday to put them through to the gold medal final of the men's basketball tournament for a third straight Olympics.

The Americans will ride a 24-game Olympic winning streak into Sunday's final where they will face the winner of Australia and Serbia who play later on Friday.

With the two top-ranked teams, number one U.S. and number two Spain, both packed with NBA talent, the game had the familiar buzz of a gold medal final.

As it should have, the countries having met to decide the gold at the previous two Olympics in London and Beijing, the U.S. coming out on top both times.

Led by 22 points from Klay Thompson, the U.S. led from the start and never trailed.

(Editing by Meredith Mazzilli)