Team USA captain Kevin Durant took control and drove the Americans to a 97-78
comeback win and a berth in the gold medal match.
Kevin Durant had 23 points, nine rebounds, and two steals as the United States
trailed by as many as 15 during a rough first half in Saitama, Japan.
The U.S. will either meet France, who upset the Americans in group play, or Luka
Doncic and Slovenia in the final on Saturday.
The Australians tried everything they could to shove them off.
“They hit us with a nice punch,” Kevin Durant said after their men’s Olympic
semifinals matchup. “We knew that team was going to get us down early and see how
we’d respond.” The response was not what Australia had hoped.
Durant scored 23 points, Devin Booker had 20 and the U.S. blew past and eventually
blew away the Aussies 97-78 on Thursday after falling into a 15-point hole.
With their gold-medal streak looking in jeopardy midway through the second
quarter, the Americans overwhelmed the Australians with a 48-14 stretch that gave
them a 74-55 lead after three periods.
The U.S. missed its first 10 3-point attempts and didn’t hit one until late in the
second quarter. Then it felt as if the Americans hardly missed again, with Booker
making three 3-pointers.
Obviously, getting down 15 points you know you’ve got to bring it up a notch and
that’s what we did,” Booker said.
Jrue Holiday had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the U.S., which will
play European champion Slovenia or France for a fourth straight gold medal
Saturday. The French beat the Americans 83-76 in their Olympic opener.
That was part of a 2-3 start to the summer for the U.S., which included a loss to the
Australians in an exhibition game in Las Vegas.
The Americans don’t look like that team anymore.
They look like the best team in the world, like those that used to win gold with ease.
It’s clear the Americans still have their grip on gold and it’s going to take more than a
few bad minutes for anyone to take it away from them.
Patty Mills scored 15 points for Australia, which still needs a win for its first Olympic
The Australians have finished fourth four times at the Olympics, including in 2016,
but believed this time they could bring home gold.
For 1 ½ quarter, it looked like they’d get a chance.