KEVIN DURANT LEADS USA TO OLYMPIC GOLD
Kevin Durant put on another legendary gold medal
game effort to lead the United States to victory against France, 87-82, at the Tokyo Olympics.
Durant scored 29 points after scoring 30 points in each of the previous two gold-medal games, in 2012 and 2016.
“Now is the moment to win,” Durant added. “It’s only one game and then you go home; it’s not a series.”
Every second I’m out there, I have to give it my best, and I have to prepare properly.
All I have to do now is go out there and put my faith in that job.
I was able to make a few saves to keep us afloat for a while.
“Damian Lillard took over for us in the fourth quarter, and people made plays at the end,” Durant said.
Durant led the United States in scoring throughout their championship
campaigns in London in 2012 and Rio in 2016. He and Carmelo Anthony are the only men to win three Olympic gold medals in basketball.
Durant also overtook Anthony as the top scorer in the United States earlier in the competition.
By the conclusion of the gold medal game, he had scored 435 points in his career, the most in men’s Olympic basketball history.
Durant is the first player to score 100 points or more in three Olympics, according to ESPN Stats & Info.
The United States had lost its Olympic opener against the identical France team before winning gold with a five-game winning streak.
“We went through a lot of adversity,” Durant added.
“We lost two exhibition games and one game in the competition. With COVID, we had some unique conditions, with people playing in the Finals and arriving late, and we simply battled through it all.
We were in a bubble for two and a half weeks, away from our family.
I’m happy we completed the job because it was certainly different.” Durant had 12 points after the first quarter and 21 by halftime. Early on, the US trailed 12-6, but Durant’s 3-pointer halfway through the second quarter put them up 38-26 on their route to a 44-39 halftime advantage.
With a 71-57 lead in the third quarter, Team USA was up 82-72 with three minutes left in the game when France made a late charge, ultimately narrowing the gap to 85-82 with 10.2 seconds to play.
Durant’s two free throws with 8.8 seconds left made it a two-possession game and put the game out of reach.
Durant remarked, “It meant a lot, particularly playing against this squad.”
“France is an excellent squad. They don’t give up.
They give it their all every minute they’re on the court.
A large group of people. So that was a fun challenge for us, but we still wanted them. We wanted to play them again, just as we wished to play Australia once more.
We were able to complete the game. Everyone made sacrifices from the beginning, putting the team first, and as a result, we were able to come out here and win gold.”