It’s a four-peat for Team USA.
The U.S. men’s basketball team, hot off its blowout semifinal victory on Day 13, redeemed itself against France in the gold medal game of the Tokyo Olympics, defeating the French 87-82 in thrilling fashion.
With this win, Team USA secured its fourth consecutive gold medal after finishing on top in 2008, ‘12 and ‘16. It is the 16th gold medal for the American men (the now-defunct Soviet Union has the second-most with two), and brings the U.S.’s medal count at the Tokyo Games to 100.
France, which took home silver for the third time, was led by winger Evan Fournier, who has agreed to a big new contract with the New York Knicks, NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert of the Utah Jazz and Nets forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, but they didn’t quite have enough against the U.S.’s NBA superstars.
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Here are the top moments from the game:
Both teams went back and forth in the first quarter, but the U.S. started off a bit cold, shooting 2-of-9 to start. Midway through the first, the Americans found themselves trailing by six, but they turned things around with big buckets from Brooklyn Nets‘ superstar Durant to keep the French within arms reach.
Before the first came to a close, the U.S. went on a 16-6 run to take a 22-18 lead.
Durant led all scorers with 12 points in the frame, followed by Jrue Holiday (four points) for Team USA. He also made history as the first U.S. men’s player to score 100 points in three different Olympics.
Boston Celtics forward Tatum provided more of a scoring boost for the U.S. early on in the second to extend Team USA’s lead.
With 3:35 left before the half, the U.S. took control of the court and a 12-point lead. Durant continued his dominance, adding nine points in the second. At the end of the first half, the Nets superstar led all scorers with 21 points, followed by France’s Gobert (13 points).
Tatum was Durant’s co-star of the second quarter, racking up eight points for the U.S after putting up just three in the first quarter. After 20 minutes, the U.S. led France, 44-39, heading into the third quarter.
His efforts were followed by more of the same from Portland Trail Blazers sharpshooter Damian Lillard, who drilled a 3-pointer with ease right out of the gate after only putting up one point in the first half. Team USA quickly put up seven unanswered points with 6:25 left to play in the third.
One more thing that went unanswered was Durant’s show-stopping performance. He added six points in the third, bringing his total to 27 points on the night heading into the fourth.
The Americans continued to build momentum as the minutes ticked down, finishing the third frame with an 8-point lead over France, 71-63.
At the top of the fourth quarter, France’s Frank Ntilikina drilled a huge 3, but the U.S. came followed that up with two straight buckets, capped with a Holiday steal and score to extend Team USA’s lead to 77-70 with 5:12 left to play.
France’s Nando De Colo hit two clutch free-throws to make it a one-score game at 85-82 with 10.2 seconds left.
Durant was fouled by Gobert (who fouled out on the play), and he went on to make both of his free throws, putting the U.S. up by five with 8.8 seconds to play.
France came out of the timeout with a chance to make it close, but Nic Batum’s air-ball 3-point attempt was secured by Holiday, and the game ended there, 87-82.
Durant finished with 29 points and six rebounds in 35 minutes, while Tatum – who came off the bench for Team USA – wasn’t far behind with 19 points and seven rebounds.
Here’s how the sports world reacted to Team USA’s win.
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