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US men’s basketball routs Serbia, wins third straight Olympic gold

The last time USA faced Serbia in the 2016 Rio Olympics , USA won by just three points in the preliminary round. However, in the gold-medal game on Sunday, Team USA was on a mission to destroy.

The mission did not start early on, as Serbia took the lead in the beginning of the game. USA did not take its first lead until DeMarcus Cousins made a layup to make it 16-14 with 1-05 left in the first quarter. The score was 19-15 at the end of the first.

The next quarter belonged to Team USA, as it outscored Serbia 33-14 in the second on the way to a 52-29 lead by halftime. USA ended the half on a 40-15 run.

Kevin Durant reeled off eight straight points in a span of just 59 seconds, giving the U.S. a 13-point lead with 6-56 left in the first half. Durant scored 18 of his 24 first-half points in in the second, shooting 4-of-5 from three-point range in the quarter.

Cousins already had a double-double by the first half, pulling down 12 rebounds and scoring eight of his 11 points in the second quarter. Cousins was also 7-of-9 on free throws in the first half.

Things only got worse for Serbia in the second half. USA outscored Serbia 27-14 in the third quarter. Despite outscoring USA 23-17 in the fourth quarter, Serbia was down by 30 when the clock hit double zeros. USA won 96-66, capturing its third straight Men’s basketball gold.

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USA took care of business against Serbia on Sunday.   photo| Associated Press

Durant, who did not play in the fourth quarter, finished with a game-high 30 points on 10-of-19 shooting. Cousins had 13 points and 15 rebounds off the bench.

USA won the battle on the boards, grabbing 54 rebounds, which was 20 more rebounds than Serbia. DeAndre Jordan had a game-high three blocks, which was more than Serbia (2) had altogether.

Serbia was held to 4-of-24 from behind the the three-point line and 37.7 percent from the field. Serbian center Nikola Jokic, who had 25 points in the first matchup against USA, had just six points.

A lack of ball movement and whether or not USA still played a dominant role in international basketball were major concerns throughout the tournament. But Team USA had 23 assists and all 12 players on the roster scored against Serbia on Sunday. Additionally, USA outscored its opponents 807-654 throughout the tournament, finishing 8-0 overall.

Key Notes:

  • Carmelo Anthony became the first player in USA Men’s basketball history to win three Olympic gold medals.
  • It was Durant’s second Olympic gold. It was the first gold for the other 10 players.
  • USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski is now the winningest coach in USA basketball history, becoming the first coach to win three Olympic gold medals. Krzyzewski is stepping down and will be replaced by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich at the start of the 2017-2020 Tokyo Olympics cycle. Krzyzewski finished a perfect 24-0 in his three-year Olympic tenure as head coach.
  • USA has now won gold in six out of the last seven Olympic Men’s basketball tournaments. Argentina won gold in Athens in 2004; USA won bronze that year.
  • Durant became the second USA player to score 30 or more points in a gold-medal game; Adrian Dantley scored 32 against Yugoslavia in 1976.

 

* Information from NBA.com, ESPN and The Basketball World.com were used in this report.

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