Kevin Durant’s USA Basketball teammates, the stars of the Oklahoma City Thunder, knew what they were getting in the Olympic Games. What they didn’t expect was a shaky start in group play to leave them floundering before a potential showdown with their biggest rival.
Kevin Durant scored seven points on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Olympic men’s basketball team’s match against Argentina. In the process, he set a new record for the most points scored by an NBA player in a single men’s Olympic basketball tournament. He is the first NBA player to score more than 100 points in an Olympic game since the sport was introduced to the Olympics in 1936. Unfortunately for Durant, the USA fell to Argentina 121-104, ending Durant’s quest for a gold medal.
The basketball isn’t quite over yet, but the United States men’s basketball team has already made history and the star power of Kevin Durant is now making it even more incredible. Durant became the first player in men’s basketball history to score more than 30 points in five straight Olympics, and he also became the first player to block at least three shots in five straight games.. Read more about 2008 usa basketball team and let us know what you think.
For a brief time, USA Basketball had reason to rejoice. Team USA thrashed the Czech Republic 119–85 to book a place in the 2020 Tokyo Olympics’ medal round. Kevin Durant created history with the victory. However, due to poor luck with the draw, USA Basketball will play the most difficult of the four quarterfinal matchups on Aug. 3.
The quarterfinals will begin on the night of August 2 for those in the United States. On the 1st of August, upstart Slovenia defeated Spain to win Group C. That’s also when Team USA’s problems started.
USA Basketball gets a huge win thanks to Kevin Durant.
Kevin Durant became the all-time top Olympic scorer in Team USA history with a 3-pointer against the Czech Republic in the second quarter. Durant has 43 points in three games in Tokyo so far, giving him a career total of 354 points in 19 Olympic appearances. Carmelo Anthony, a four-time Olympic medalist from 2004 through 2016, owned the record with 336 points, but only after 31 games.
On July 31, 2021, Team USA’s Kevin Durant protects the ball from Czech Republic’s Tomas Satoransky (L) during the men’s preliminary round Group A basketball match between USA Basketball and Czech Republic at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. | AFP/ARIS MESSINIS/Getty Images
Team USA survived an early punch in the mouth against the Czech Republic, rallying from a 10-point disadvantage halfway through the first quarter. In the opening period, the Czechs led 17–7 and 19–9, respectively, and had a 25–18 lead at the conclusion of the quarter.
USA Basketball stormed back to grab a 47–43 halftime lead before annihilating the Czech Republic 72–41 after the break. Durant, a star for the Brooklyn Nets, scored 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, including 4-of-7 from beyond the arc. Jayson Tatum of the Boston Celtics led the team with 27 points, and Team USA shot 61.6 percent overall and 20-of-42 (47.6 percent) from 3-point range.
The Czech Republic didn’t have a bad game, hitting 50% from the field and 8-of-18 (44.4%) from long range. However, the Czechs were outscored 27–8 on turnovers and 17–2 on the fast break by USA Basketball.
Team USA, on the other hand, is facing some challenges.
The worst quarterfinal draw conceivable was made for Team USA.
On August 1, FIBA held a draw to determine the medal round bracket. The top three teams from each group, as well as the best second-place team, were placed in one pot, while the other qualifiers were placed in another. If a draw matched teams from the same group, the teams were re-drawn from the pot.
Slovenia (3-0), France (3–0), Australia (3–0), and USA Basketball (2–1 with a plus-82 scoring difference) rounded out the top four teams. Italy (2–1, plus-16) and Spain (2-1, plus-13), as well as Argentina (1–2, minus-8) and Germany (1–2, minus-8) rounded out the field (1-2, minus-16). The Czech Republic was also 1–2, but their Olympic career was cut short due to a minus-49 score difference.
Germany vs. Slovenia, Italy vs. France, and Australia vs. Argentina were the quarterfinal matches after the draw. At 12:40 a.m. on Aug. 2, the top two teams in the FIBA World Rankings, the defending Olympic champion Team USA and the reigning FIBA World Cup champions from Spain, will face off.
Indeed, one of the world’s two top-ranked teams will leave Tokyo without a medal. On Aug. 5, the winner of the Spain-USA Basketball match will face the winner of the Argentina-Australia match in the semifinals. Germany or Slovenia will face Italy or France in the other semifinal.
The medal games will be held on August 7. The gold-medal game will be broadcast live in the United States on August 6 at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. On Aug. 7, the bronze-medal competition will begin at 7 a.m. Eastern.
Team USA only has one player in the top ten scorers.
On July 31, 2021, Team USA’s Jayson Tatum drives to the hoop during the men’s preliminary round Group A basketball match between USA Basketball and Czech Republic at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games. | Getty Images/BRIAN SNYDER/POOL/AFP
Tatum led USA Basketball in scoring in the group stage, averaging 16.7 points per game. That puts you in a tie for 10th place in the event.
Five players averaged more over 20 points per game, with Slovenian Luka Doni leading the way with 28.3. Patty Mills of Australia scored 21.7 points per game, while Ricky Rubio of Spain scored 21.3.
Slovenia leads the competition in scoring with 109.7 points per game, followed by Team USA with 105.0 points per game. The next ten teams all scored fewer than 90 points per game. After a bad start against France, USA Basketball recovered to top the group stage with a 51.4 percent shooting percentage. France was the only other team to make more than it missed, with a 50.8 percent success rate.
Team USA also had the best 3-point shooting percentage (43.4%), which was boosted by their 8-of-27 performance in the first game. Germany, the only other team to break the 40% mark, shot 41.8 percent.
In every Olympics in which they have participated, USA Basketball has always won a medal. Spain has won medals in the previous three Olympic Games. On August 3, one of those streaks will come to an end.
FIBA and USA Basketball provided the statistics.
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