When the US men’s basketball team lost to France in the preliminary round of play at the Tokyo Olympics, France’s Evan Fournier had this to say about the squad: “They are better individually, but they can be beaten as a team.”
It’s clear the men were able to figure out their chemistry issues the more time they played in Tokyo, as their tournament run culminated in an 87-82 win over France during the final. ESPN reports this was the fourth straight gold medal that the men’s team has won at the Olympic Games.
Kevin Durant was the standout player during the game, which took place Saturday morning in Japan (or Friday night in the United States). He finished with 29 points, and according to ESPN, 21 of them were scored in the first half when the team struggled with shooting.
“This is one of those special journeys,” Durant said. “When you’re a part of a team that’s evolving by the second, it’s amazing to see. Each game we continued to grow. I’m grateful we all committed to it, we stuck with it and we finished it off.”
Durant’s dominating performance also elicited praise from his former Golden State Warriors teammate Draymond Green. If you remember, Green didn’t have a single nice thing to say about the Slim Reaper when he decided to leave the Bay Area and take his talents to Brooklyn by signing with the Nets.
More from ESPN:
“Kevin Durant is exactly who we thought he was,” said Draymond Green, who won two titles with him in Golden State as well as the 2016 Olympic gold. “He’s one of the greatest players to ever play this game. One of the most special guys you’ve ever seen lace their shoes up and take a basketball court.”
As for Fournier, who propelled France over the Americans earlier in the tournament, he had trouble overcoming the stifling defense of 2021 NBA Champ Jrue Holiday. He scored 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting, ESPN reports.
You love to see it. Now let’s take that excitement and positive momentum and shower it on the USA women’s team, who will play against Olympic host country Japan for their SEVENTH consecutive gold medal Saturday evening.