The USA men's basketball team made a strong comeback to defeat the Czech Republic 119-84 in their final group stage game in the Tokyo Olympics men's basketball tournament.
Greg Popovich's side were down by as many as ten points midway through the first quarter. But Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant took over to make sure Team USA made a quick recovery.
Also Check out: USA Olympic Basketball Team Schedule 2021
He scored 23 points on the day, shooting 8 of 11 from the field and also tallied eight rebounds and six assists. Jayson Tatum also produced a scintillating offensive performance, scoring 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, including five threes.
Meanwhile, Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday and Bam Adebayo played key roles at the defensive end. The USA outscored the Czech Republic 101-59 in the last three quarters to take the win and seal their berth in the quarter-finals of the Tokyo Olympics.
On that note, let's take a look at the five key takeaways for Team USA from this game as they proceed to prepare for the knockout stage of the competition.
#5 USA continue dominance from the 3-point line
Team USA continued to take advantage of having the best three-point shooters on their roster against the Czech Republic. They knocked down 20 of their 42 attempts from the deep. That helped them immensely, as they found it tough to deal with the size of the Czech frontcourt, which prevented them from attacking the rim.
Tatum nailed down five shots from the three-point line, the most in the team, followed by Kevin Durant (4) and Zach LaVine (3). It proved to be key for the team, especially after their dismal start to the game. The Americans were down by seven points heading into the second quarter of the match.
#4 Team USA flaunt their star depth
In their last game against Iran, it was Damian Lillard and Devin Booker who led the charge for the USA. But the two players did not have an efficient game against the Czech Republic. Both stars could only combine for 13 points on the day, shooting a combined 4 of 13 from the floor.
Also Check out: Czech Republic Men's Olympic Basketball Team 2021
Kevin Durant (23 points) and Jayson Tatum (27 points) stepped up for the USA instead. The Americans were once again able to show off the star depth they possess in their ranks, which makes them the favorites to win it all once again.
Meanwhile, Durant surpassed Carmelo Anthony as the USA's all-time highest scorer at the Olympics.
#3 Team USA need to be more alert at the start of games
As mentioned earlier, the USA struggled to play well in the first quarter of their clash against the Czech Republic.
Their overall play was very casual, something that needs to change as they approach the medal rounds. While they were able to recover against a modest opponent like the Czech Republic, that may not be the case against stronger teams in the knockout rounds.
USA turned the ball over too many times in the opening minutes and also made poor decisions regarding their shot selections. They also did not move the ball with much fluidity in that stretch.
#2 Team USA fared well under pressure
Team USA made sure they were able to stay composed despite their poor first quarter. They stuck to their game plan and continued to make shots that eventually tilted the game in their favor.
It is a great testament to the fact that they have learned how to tackle pressure situations like that after their dismal outing against France in their Tokyo Olympics opener.
The quarter-finals could present a formidable challenge for the USA, as the level of competition is likely to be higher. There is a chance the Americans will see a lot of lead changes, but after their showing against the Czech Republic, it doesn't seem like that would bother the team too much.
#1 USA need to figure out how to attack the paint more
The USA attempted more shots from beyond the arc than they did from inside against the Czech Republic.
They made 48 attempts from the three-point line and 31 from the 2-point range. While they have found success with their long-range shooting form for two games now, that may not necessarily be the case going forward.
Their lack of size has been a worry so far, and could hurt them. Considering the same, head coach Gregg Popovich and co will need to prepare the team to find ways to get more to the rim than they generally do. That will give the Team USA offense more versatility and make them more unpredictable to play against.