With 29 units, the star of the Brooklyn Nets, Kevin Durant, led Team USA to an 87-82 victory over France to win the gold medal at the 2020 Japan Olympics.
Durant has had some wonderful days in his career, but there has never been one like this green and gold Saturday in Japan.
First there was a new $ 198 million contract secured with the Nets. Then the pride of Seat Pleasant, Maryland, extended his legendary status as one of America’s great Olympians.
Durant’s greatness has been building up throughout the Tokyo games, and he poured out his energy early on to relieve stress on his teammates. With the confidence, experience and tremendous combination of skills, there was no way Durant would lose as he scored 21 of his 29 points in the first half.
It was the third time Durant played in a gold medal game and the third time he was fantastic.
France, who had beaten team USA both in the 2019 World Cup and two weeks ago to open the Olympics by dominating the fourth quarters, tried again with a late reaction. With 10 points behind at the beginning of the fourth quarter, they cut it down to three points twice, even with only 10 seconds to play.
With Durant tired, there was a window in which this could have been another bad ending. But this team, which lacked chemistry at times but never depth, had enough to finish the job.
Jayson tatum, who became Team USA’s secondary scorer in a bench role during the tournament, hit a handful of relief baskets, including two crucial triples in the fourth quarter as the most important of his 19 points. Damian Lillard, who has struggled to hit in Tokyo, delivered two clutch baskets to help hold the lead as well.
Then it was Durant, opportunely, finishing the game with free throws with eight seconds to go.
With a big advantage in size, France tried to get the ball in with the big man Rudy gobert. The Americans promised to trade pick and rolls as they have throughout the tournament and the French really tried to turn it into a fatal mistake. Gobert committed nine fouls in the game total, but the US played the percentages, as the shaky free-throw shooter finished just 6-of-13 from the line.
Evan fournier, who has been a thorn in the side of the Americans in the last two losses, scored 16 points but was just 5 of 15 from the line. Jrue Holiday he had another great defensive game, coming in with three steals and a block along with 11 points. The big ones Bam Adebayo Y Draymond green they also played superior defense.