The Fate of U.S. Men’s Basketball Gold Rests in Kevin Durant’s Hands

When Team USA bested Spain in the quarterfinals, Durant was dancing. For the U.S. to emerge as Tokyo Olympics champions, he has to keep doing it.

8/4/2021 2:35:00 AM

Even though the U.S. has won the lion’s share of Olympics men’s basketball gold medals, its journey to Tokyo has been surprisingly shaky, and winning the gold is still by no means a guarantee

When Team USA bested Spain in the quarterfinals, Durant was dancing. For the U.S. to emerge as Tokyo Olympics champions, he has to keep doing it.

A victory over Spain was no easy feat, despite the fact that the USA has beaten Spain during every Olympics match-up since 2004. Spain’s star player, the NBA’s Ricky Rubio (who was traded to the Cleveland Cavaliers last week), was having the game of his life, scoring 38 of his team’s 81 points. In the first quarter, Team USA’s chances looked bleak. Its three-point shooting, usually the team’s strong suit, was miserable, and they missed the first 12 of 15 three-point attempts.

BTS & Coldplay Drop 'My Universe' Collab: Stream It Now Rep. Jones to those opposing lowering drug prices: who are you looking out for? Rep. Maloney on 1/6 investigations: There’s a reason why Republicans are so freaked out

They ended the first half tied at 43, and it was in the second that Team USA really came alive. Durant, who is the leading scorer in Team USA basketball history, was the centerpiece of the whole thing, seemingly undefendable, while Jrue Holiday and Draymond Green offered up much-needed defensive grit. A reason the team struggled throughout the first half was because its other best shooters, Damian Lillard and Devin Booker, weren’t playing their best basketball. In the second half, Durant, who ultimately scored 29 points in 31 minutes, finally got the help he needed to clinch the win. Booker, Lillard, Jayson Tatum, and Zach LaVine all finished the game with over ten points. And Holiday, primarily a defender, also ended up shooting excellently, putting up 12 points.

Even though the U.S. has won the lion’s share of Olympics men’s basketball gold medals, its journey to Tokyo has been surprisingly shaky, and winning the gold is still by no means a guarantee. Team USA lost its first two exhibition games to Australia and Nigeria and then lost its first preliminary game in Tokyo to France. Durant and Lillard have previously spoken about how they still haven’t quite come together as a team — Durant and Green are the only returning players from the 2016 Rio team, where they won gold — and have noted that they have an inherent disadvantage over their opponents, who have been playing together for years. Despite the unsure start in last night’s game, you could see them starting to gel. The ball movement was particularly impressive, and even though Durant stole the show, it was almost heartwarming to watch the best of the NBA play such deeply unselfish basketball. headtopics.com

Read more: New York Magazine »

More than a year after George Floyd's killing, Congress can't agree on police reform

Democrats and Republicans could not agree on how to move forward on police reform legislation.

The rest of the world has people who can really hoop.

Caeleb Dressel Swimming At The Tokyo OlympicsCaeleb Dressel Swimming At The Tokyo Olympics

Tokyo Olympics 2021: A Guide to All the New SportsSkateboarding, surfing, sport climbing and more are making their Olympic debut in Tokyo.

Inspiring displays of sportsmanship highlight Tokyo OlympicsWhile the pandemic may impose physical distance at the Tokyo Olympics, something about these Games is bringing people closer emotionally. NBC New Now anchor Joe Fryer reports for TODAY on the inspiring displays of sportsmanship that have many calling these Olympics “the kindness Games.” This is how sportsmanship works and these scenes occur every Olympics - unfortunately nbc seems to be the only ones that do not understand this.... Learning sportsmanship is one of the greatest gifts of participating in sports WARNING- do not be putting mascara on at the same time as watching/listening to to this!!! ❤️👏😭❤️

Here Are All the Americans Who Have Won Medals at the Tokyo Olympics So FarThe USA cleans house, and that's a fact Olympics 🥇

Simone Biles’ Aunt Died Unexpectedly Amid Tokyo Olympics, Coach SaysCoach Cecile Canqueteau-Landi revealed Simone Biles lost her aunt while dealing with the drama of stepping away from the Olympics — details

Simone Biles Has Finished Out the Tokyo Olympics With Another MedalSimone Biles isn’t letting medals or awards define her career or her experience at the Olympics; as she said, “I didn’t really care about the outcome. I was so happy that I made the routine and then I got to compete one more time.' May this will inspire millions of people facing the same. MentalHealthMatters