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It’s always great to see a Big 4 sport from the United States win on a global stage.
What Team USA Basketball accomplished against France was not only an exceeding of expectations — beating the international team, 87-82, to mark the USA’s fourth consecutive gold medal in basketball — but a continuation of the resiliency motif that the Americans showcased throughout the tournament. Led by tremendous performances from Kevin Durant.
Durant scored 29 points against France and kept Team USA with their foot on the gas throughout the contest. At the half, Durant and the team led by five but were tasked with having to answer for France’s Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert — the NBA’s reigning Defensive Player of the Year. Fournier finished with 16 points, 3 rebounds and 2 assists. Gobert put in 16 points on offense and was the typical blockade in the paint.
Reaching the fourth quarter with an eight-point advantage, 71-63, Team USA’s Jrue Holiday and Jayson Tatum proved their salt with dependable scoring to keep the team ahead, while Draymond Green and Bam Adebayo equally flexed some muscle on defense to stunt Fournier and Gobert’s impact in the final minutes.
Without the requisite names to use the old formula of Team USA Basketball — which was to blow teams out by halftime — the ‘B’ squad of the NBA still managed to give an ‘A’ performance when it mattered most. They understood how to use their momentum to close out victories against stiff competition and stuck to it en route to gold.
While the team encountered a rough start to the Games with its consecutive exhibition losses to Nigeria and Australia, the squad’s rallying efforts — spearheaded by all-time Olympics great Kevin Durant — pushed them past their final game against France to secure the golden honors for the United States.
Durant earned his third Olympics gold medal, tying Carmelo Anthony for most by an American player.
Team USA Basketball
Keldon Johnson (did not play)
Kevin Love (did not play)
Follow along on Twitter: @AlejandroAveela