By Johnny Askounis/ email@example.com
Despite missing the first ten three-point attempts, the USA dug its way out of a 15-point hole to eventually shape up a comfortable win, 97-78, against Australia on Thursday.
Kevin Durant led the comeback charge, highlighted by a 20-0 run for a nine-point lead early in the second half. He banked in 23 points and grabbed nine rebounds, both game-highs. Devin Booker had 20 points after being limited to 8.5 points per match in his first four Tokyo showings. Jrue Holiday added 11 points, eight assists, and eight rebounds. Khris Middleton also logged 11 points.
The team led by Gregg Popovich is heading to Saturday’s Olympic Games gold medal game facing Luka Doncic and Slovenia or France. The European semifinalists meet later in the second game of the day at Saitama Super Arena.
The losing side disrupted its opponents for most of the first half preventing fast break points and outside shooting. But the 16-4 USA run to close the first half evolving into the deciding 20-0 stretch knocked out Australia.
Booker connected the first triple for his national team with just over three minutes left in the second quarter signaling the turnaround. The United States led for only 24 seconds before the break but dominated the second half.
Patty Mills produced a team-high 15 points and eight assists for the Boomers. Dante Exum, still an NBA free agent, posted 14 points and Jock Landale had 11 points.
After four fourth-place rankings in the Olympic Games, Australia aims to claim its first-ever medal taking on France or Slovenia in Saturday’s bronze affair.
Photo Credit: FIBA.BASKETBALL