The US Olympic mens basketball team won its third straight gold medal and did it easily, beating Serbia 96-66
The United States mens basketball team saved their best for last, capping an occasionally precarious Olympic tournament with a stress-free 96-66 rout of Serbia to capture yet another gold medal in the final event of the Rio Games.
Kevin Durant poured in a game-high 30 points matching his total from the gold medal game four years ago in London as the US team overcame a punchless opening with suffocating defense to run away before a lively crowd of 10,658 at Carioca Arena 1. The Americans have now won six of the last seven Olympic titles in mens basketball and 15 of 19 overall. Faster, higher, stronger indeed.
Serbia had given the Americans a scare in the preliminary round, clawing back from a 23-5 deficit to push the tournament favorites to the limit before losing by three. That sparked a two-game win streak that lifted them into the medal round on a tie-breaker, followed by wins over Croatia and Australia.
This one played out more like the teams previous meeting in the 2014 Fiba Basketball World Cup final where Team USA won a 12992 blowout in Madrid.
They have the best coaching staff in the world, Serbia coach Aleksandar orevi said. They did a great job scouting us and they knew everything that was coming from our guns. Unfortunately some of our guns were not that loaded as in the first game. We didnt move the ball well, share the ball well.
The US team missed 13 of their first 20 shots from the floor and half of their eight free throws during a first quarter that saw five lead changes. But after a Stefan Birevi free throw gave the Serbians a 14-11 edge, Team USA used a 22-6 run capped by a Durant steal and breakaway dunk to extend a 13-point advantage, prompting orevi to call timeout.
There was little he could do to stem the tide. The US team was moving the ball beautifully and dominating in every facet. By half-time Durant had posted 24 points 18 in the second quarter alone and Cousins had already posted a double-double (11 points, 12 rebounds) and the US led 52-29.
We started pretty good but in the second quarter we did not look like ourselves, Serbias Stefan Markovi said. When you have 12 superstars against you, you cannot wait for them to attack. You have to attack first.
If you let them play as they want, they will kill you. Each of the 12 guys can do that. You cannot stop these players like that.