Olympic Basketball 2021: Team USA Beats France to Win Men's Gold Medal

Paul KasabianFeatured Columnist IIAugust 7, 2021

AP Photo/Eric Gay

Kevin Durant scored 29 points as the United States defeated France 87-82 in the gold-medal game at the Tokyo Olympics.

Bleacher Report @BleacherReport

TEAM USA IS HEADING HOME WITH THE GOLD MEDAL ๐Ÿฅ‡ <a href="https://t.co/WY91seX5u5">pic.twitter.com/WY91seX5u5</a>

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

TEAM USA WINS GOLD! ๐Ÿ‡บ๐Ÿ‡ธ๐Ÿฅ‡<br><br>This is the men's <a href="https://twitter.com/usabasketball?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@usabasketball</a> team's fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a><br><br>๐Ÿ“บ NBC<br>๐Ÿ’ป <a href="https://t.co/ikwg8cKXGC">https://t.co/ikwg8cKXGC</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ NBC Sports App <a href="https://t.co/nf8AXCqPrY">pic.twitter.com/nf8AXCqPrY</a>

The United States led by as many as 14 points late in the third quarter, but France stormed back and cut the Team USA lead to 85-82 after a Nicolas Batum steal eventually led to a pair of Nando de Colo free throws with 10 seconds left in the game.

Durant was then fouled and responded by hitting two free throws of his own. France's last possession ended with Batum missing a three-pointer, and the game ended following a Team USA defensive rebound.

KD was simply sensational, which is commonplace for him during the Olympics.

Rodger Sherman @rodger

Kevin Durant:<br>โ€”3 Olympic golds<br>โ€”30/30/29 in gold medal games<br>โ€”led USA in scoring in all 3 tournaments<br>โ€”leading scorer in Team USA men's Olympic history<br>โ€”50.3% 3-point shooter in Olympics (!!!)<br>โ€”(also MVP of a FIBA World Cup!)<br><br>The best Team USA men's player ever, right?

Kirk Goldsberry @kirkgoldsberry

Most Points in Gold Medal Game -<br>Olympic Men's Basketball History<br><br>2016 &gt;Kevin Durant .....30<br>2012 &gt;Kevin Durant .... 30<br>1976 Adrian Dantley ... 30<br>2020 &gt;Kevin Durant ... 29<br>1980 Renato Villalta ... 29<a href="https://t.co/ZuDSaMSjgp">https://t.co/ZuDSaMSjgp</a> <a href="https://t.co/RoVfNqmZ5j">pic.twitter.com/RoVfNqmZ5j</a>

HoopsHype @hoopshype

Best scoring averages for USA at the Olympics...<br><br>KEVIN DURANT (2021): 20.7 <br>Kevin Durant (2012): 19.5<br>Kevin Durant (2016): 19.4<br>Adrian Dantley (1976): 19.3<br>Charles Barkley (1992): 18.0<br>Michael Jordan (1984): 17.1<br><br>Team USA's finest. <a href="https://t.co/Yi8zOUtcD7">pic.twitter.com/Yi8zOUtcD7</a>

Durant scored 21 first-half points to give Team USA a 44-39 edge. He and Jayson Tatum combined for 32 points by halftime, while the rest of Team USA had just 11. Struggles from behind the three-point line (4-of-18) were the primary culprit.

France hung with the United States thanks to 12 free throws on 19 attempts, but 10 first-half turnovers hindered its offense.

The United States took over in the third quarter, opening up a 71-57 lead after a Tatum fast-break bucket.

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

JAYSON. TATUM.<a href="https://twitter.com/TeamUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamUSA</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a><br><br>๐Ÿ“บ NBC<br>๐Ÿ’ป <a href="https://t.co/KUtVmoSGW5">https://t.co/KUtVmoSGW5</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ NBC Sports App <a href="https://t.co/nvTj5iN9sd">pic.twitter.com/nvTj5iN9sd</a>

A late 9-2 run that featured a pair of Team USA steals and a blocked shot helped the United States gain the 14-point edge.

However, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Batum each nailed three-pointers in the final 35 seconds to cut the American edge to 71-63 heading into the fourth quarter.

The United States got the opening fourth-quarter bucket but proceeded to go ice cold, failing to score for 3:23. France took advantage of the opportunity and went on a 7-0 run capped by a Frank Ntilikina three-pointer.

That shot cut the United States' edge to 73-70 with 5:42 left, but Team USA responded with a 6-0 run, with Damian Lillard scoring two buckets around a Jrue Holiday steal and score.

#TokyoOlympics @NBCOlympics

Holiday with the steal.<br>Holiday with the breakaway.<br>Holiday will hammer it DOWN. ๐Ÿ”จ<a href="https://twitter.com/TeamUSA?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@TeamUSA</a> x <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TokyoOlympics?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#TokyoOlympics</a><br><br>๐Ÿ“บ NBC<br>๐Ÿ’ป <a href="https://t.co/ikwg8cKXGC">https://t.co/ikwg8cKXGC</a><br>๐Ÿ“ฑ NBC Sports App <a href="https://t.co/i5lCzionpP">pic.twitter.com/i5lCzionpP</a>

France kept fighting back, though, with a pair of fast-break buckets (an Evan Fournier fast-three-pointer and a Ntilikina layup) slicing Team USA's edge to 85-80.

The de Colo free throws made it a one-possession game, but in the end, it was Durant who closed the door on France, who opened the tournament with an 83-77 group-play win over the Americans.

Five players scored in double digits for France, with Fournier and Rudy Gobert leading the way with 16.

For Team USA, Tatum complemented Durant with 19 points, and Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday each had 11.

Team USA men's basketball has now won 16 Olympic gold medals and four straight.


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