KD leads USA to fourth straight Olympic gold medal

2021-08-07T06:30:54+00:00 2021-08-07T17:06:18+00:00.

Antonis Stroggylakis

07/Aug/21 06:30


Team USA sits on the world basketball throne again.

By Antonis Stroggylakis / AStroggylakis@eurohoops.net

Many things highly motivated Team USA ahead of the final of the 2021 Olympic Games basketball tournament. They were looking to continue their Olympic gold streak, get redemption for their disappointing World Cup run, wreak some vengeance against France and also shut down the voices that predicted that their time of dominance in the Games is maybe over.

Missions accomplished.

Kevin Durant scored a game-high 29 points including the win-sealing free throws with nine seconds to play as USA overcame a tough French team 87 – 82 to claim their fourth consecutive and 16th overall Olympic Games gold medal. Durant won MVP after completing the tournament with 20.7 points (on 52.9 percent shooting), 5.3 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

With the score 85 – 82 after free throws by Nando De Colo, Durant went 2-2 line to secure USA’s victory and cap an outstanding tournament run that earned him MVP. France had made it a one-possession game some seconds before the end of the regulation after a comeback from down 84 – 75 with 1:10 to play.

It was one of the multiple turnaround efforts in the game for France that couldn’t double its Olympic wins over USA after the victory in the opener and beat them for third straight game overall, counting also the win in the 2019 World Championship. Still, the silver is a major success and the first Olympic medal for an entire generation of Les Bleus players since the last time their team climbed at the Olympic podium was in 2000 when they also finished second.

Rudy Gobert (16 points, eight rebounds) and Evan Fournier (16 points) were the leading scorers for Les Bleus that struggled with turnovers (18 against USA’s nine) and couldn’t stop the Durant factor.

USA led for the entire game after the first eight minutes and were up even by 14 near the end of the third period after a dunk by Jayson Tatum. The Boston Celtics star was USA’s second-highest scorer with 19 points.

France answered with a 13 – 2 run and Frank Ntilikina drained a triple to make it 73 – 70 halfway through the fourth quarter. Jrue Holiday, who was a defensive force in another game for USA, and Damian Lillard connected for some key plays and then Tatum hit a 3-pointer for the 82 – 72. USA held on enough to not allow their opponents to completely recover.