SAITAMA, Japan — Kevin Durant has had some fantastic days in his profession, however there’s by no means been one like this inexperienced and gold Saturday in Japan.
First there was a brand new $198 million contract locked in with the Brooklyn Nets. Then the delight of Seat Nice, Md., prolonged his legendary standing as considered one of America’s nice Olympians with a masterpiece efficiency to guide Crew USA to its fourth straight gold, 87-82 over France.
Durant’s greatness has been constructing all through the Tokyo video games, and he poured out his power within the early going to alleviate stress on his teammates. With the arrogance, expertise and super mix of abilities, there was simply no method Durant was going to lose as he scored 21 of his 29 factors within the first half.
It was the third time Durant has performed in a gold medal sport and the third time he was implausible, solely deepening his resume.
France, which had overwhelmed Crew USA in each the 2019 World Cup and two weeks in the past to open the Olympics with dominating fourth quarters, tried it once more with a late kick. Trailing by 10 factors initially of the ultimate quarter, they minimize it to 3 factors twice together with with simply 10 seconds to play.
With Durant tiring, there was a window the place this might’ve been one other unhealthy ending. However this workforce, which lacked chemistry at instances however by no means depth, had sufficient to complete the job.
Jayson Tatum, who developed into Crew USA’s secondary scorer in a bench function through the match, got here up with a handful of aid baskets together with two essential 3-pointers within the fourth quarter as an important of his 19 factors. Damian Lillard, who has struggled to affect an affect in Tokyo, delivered two clutch baskets to assist preserve the lead as effectively.
Then it was Durant, appropriately, ending the sport off with free throws with eight seconds remaining.
With an enormous measurement benefit, France tried to pound the ball inside with massive man Rudy Gobert. The People have been dedicated to switching choose and rolls as they’ve all match and the French actually tried to make it a deadly flaw. Gobert drew 9 fouls within the sport whole however the U.S. performed the chances, because the shaky free throw shooter ended up simply 6-of-13 from the road.
Evan Fournier, who has been a thorn within the People’ facet within the final two losses, scored 16 factors however was simply 5-of-15 from the road. Jrue Holiday had one other nice defensive sport, arising with three steals and a block together with 11 factors. .Huge males Bam Adebayo and Draymond Green additionally performed superior protection.