Kevin Durant scored 29 points and led his team to victory, although he scored only 8 in the second half. Jason Tatum added 19, Damien Lillard and Giro Holiday added 11. The latter, along with Chris Middleton, celebrate the Olympic title just two weeks after winning the NBA with the Milwaukee Bucks. Evan Fournier and Rudi Gobert each scored 16 points for France, and Goubert scored 8 rebounds. Gershon Yabuseli added 13 points, Nando de Colo added 12 and 7 assists.
The American team had problems with its opponents under the basket, and Joubert and his teammates tried to take advantage of the physical conditions. But Americans have been driving for more than 30 minutes anyway. In the second quarter the score was 39:26, and in the third quarter 71:57, but the contenders managed to make up for almost all the difference and caused excitement. In the middle of the last quarter, after all three, reserve Frank Ntelikina was only 73:70.
The Americans responded by bouncing at 82:72 following the actions of Lillard and Tatum. It was not the end of emotions. 15 seconds from the end with a score of 85:80, the French intercepted the ball, and Ntelikina was tossing from behind the curve. He made a mistake, but after rebounding De Colo was fouled and used two spare days. On the flip side, Durant made no mistake on the line, the three of Nicolas Batum didn’t hit the edge and the French got rid of their illusions that they could catch up to their opponents.
The US team’s success in theory shouldn’t come as a surprise or a major event, but the team led by Gregg Popovich wasn’t everyone’s favorite for the gold medal. And not because in 2019 it took only ninth place in the World Cup, because then it was a weaker team. Now there are some big stars from the best league in the world, but it was hard to build. The task was not easier with three players arriving late after the NBA Final, and doubts reinforced by defeats – sparring with Nigeria and Australia, and mentioned in the group stage of matches with France.
However, for the first time in history, the US national team won the Olympics despite being defeated during the tournament. Since 1992, when NBA basketball players appeared at the Olympics, Americans have lost the battle for gold only once. In 2004, throughout the tournament, they suffered three defeats and won only the bronze medal. Then Argentina won.
For France, the silver medal in Tokyo ranks third in history, having previously been ranked second in 1948 and 2000. Les Bleus is among the best in the world in the past decade. They won gold at the European Championships in 2013, silver in 2011, bronze in 2015, and bronze at the 2014 and 2019 World Championships.
In the match for third place at the Tokyo Olympics, Slovenia will fight Australia. In the women’s championship final, the United States will play against Japan, and Serbia will play the bronze against France.
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