Nothing concerning the summer time was straightforward for the U.S. males’s basketball group, and neither was the gold-medal recreation.
The People anticipated nothing much less.
And ultimately, their Olympic reign continues.
Kevin Durant scored 29 factors and joined Carmelo Anthony as the one three-time males’s gold medallists in Olympic historical past and the U.S. held off France 87-82 on Saturday to win the title on the Tokyo Video games — ending a summer time that began with sputters however closed with celebration.
Durant sealed it with two free throws with 8.8 seconds left, making the result tutorial. The lead was 5, France’s last possession was irrelevant, and it was over. The U.S. gamers gathered for a hug at midcourt, Durant, Bam Adebayo and Draymond Inexperienced wrapped themselves in American flags, and the journey was full.
Jayson Tatum completed with 19 factors, Damian Lillard and Jrue Vacation every scored 11 for the U.S.
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Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert every scored 16 for France, which now has 4 silver medals — all coming after gold-medal-game losses to the U.S. Guerschon Yabusele scored 13, Nando de Colo had 12 and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 11 for France.
Frank Ntilikina’s 3-pointer bought France inside 73-70 with 5:42 left, however the U.S. had a fast reply — a 9-2 run that restored a 10-point lead on Tatum’s 3-pointer.
From there, it was only a matter of ending the job. The summer time began with two exhibition losses, the Olympics began with a loss to France, and none of that appeared to matter a lot on the finish.
The mission was achieved: Gold, once more — the sixteenth time in 19 Olympic tries for the U.S.
For some, it provides to household legacies. Jrue Vacation now could be an Olympic gold medallist, similar to his spouse Lauren was twice with the U.S. girls’s nationwide soccer group. JaVale McGee now has Olympic gold, similar to his mom Pamela received with the U.S. girls in basketball on the 1984 Los Angeles Video games.
For Milwaukee Bucks teammates Vacation and Khris Middleton, it is admission right into a uncommon membership: Prior to now, solely Scottie Pippen (who did it twice), Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving had received an NBA title and Olympic gold in the identical yr.
And for U.S. coach Gregg Popovich, it completes an Olympic journey that began a half-century in the past. He was enjoying for the US Air Power Academy, tried unsuccessfully to make the 1972 U.S. Olympic group— “the powers that be truly chosen Doug Collins as an alternative of me, it is onerous to imagine,” Popovich joked earlier this summer time — then accepted the duty of changing Mike Krzyzewski because the U.S. coach for this Olympic cycle.
“Being a part of the Olympics has been a dream,” Popovich mentioned.
The U.S. missed its first eight 3-point tries earlier than Durant bought one to drop with 2:04 left within the opening quarter, beginning what grew to become a 21-8 run by the People on the best way to a 39-26 lead halfway by means of the second quarter.
France responded, closing the half on a 13-5 spurt and getting inside 44-39 on the break, then inside two early within the third quarter.
And after the U.S. briefly led by 14, Nicolas Batum — who saved his group with a last-second block to shut out a win over Slovenia within the semifinals — beat the third-quarter buzzer with a 3-pointer that reduce the U.S. result in 71-63 getting into the fourth.