Olympics 2021 Men's Basketball: Top 5 individual performances from the knockout stage

Team USA with their gold at the Tokyo Olympics
Team USA with their gold at the Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics 2020 basketball event came to an end on Saturday, with Team USA beating France to win their fourth-straight gold medal at the Olympics. The last time Team USA came back from the Olympics without a gold medal was in 2004 as Kevin Durant helped himself to his third Olympic gold in as many attempts.

The knockout stage of the Tokyo Olympics largely went as expected, although Luka Doncic failed in his quest to lead his nation to their first-ever basketball medal at the Olympics. Nevertheless, other players, including some surprise names, produced memorable performances in the knockout stage.

While Team USA registered a close victory in the gold medal match, Slovenia fell short against Australia in the bronze medal playoff, with Patty Mills producing a prolific 42-point performance. In the process, Australia won their first ever Olympic medal in basketball.

On that note, here's a look at the top five individual performances from the knockout stage of the Tokyo Olympics men's basketball competition.

#5 Ricky Rubio against Team USA (Quarter-final)

Spain vs United States Men's Basketball - Olympics: Day 11
Spain vs United States Men's Basketball - Olympics: Day 11

Spain had some NBA veterans in their roster, but were always going to fall short against Team USA in the quarterfinals.

However, this was not the easiest gold medal Team USA has won at the Olympics. They were given stiff competition right from game 1, where a resolute Ricky Rubio produced arguably one of his best performances.

Rubio produced 38 points at a healthy 65% from the field and converted four of his 7 3-pointers as well. It was only due to Kevin Durant and his late heroics that Team USA cruised to a 14-point victory, with Durant producing 29 points and four assists.

#4 Kevin Durant vs Australia (Semi-final)

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant

Australia proved to be one of the most impressive teams at the Tokyo Olympics 2020, taking the fight to Team USA in the semi-final.

Their three NBA stars - Jock Landale, Dante Exum and Patty Mills - all scored in double digits as Team USA suffered due to poor shooting nights for Jrue Holiday, Khris Middleton and Jayson Tatum.

However, Durant was at his very best, producing 23 points and nine assists while shooting at almost 60%. Australia forced Team USA into making long 3-pointers that eventually brought forth a commanding second-half jumper from Durant as he ensured that Team USA went on to compete for the gold.

#3 Zoran Dragic vs Germany (Quarter-final)

Goran Dragic
Goran Dragic

NBA player Goran Dragic’s brother Zoran Dragic produced a memorable 27-point performance in the quarter-final of the Tokyo Olympics 2020 against Germany. That was significant, as Luka Doncic did not have the best of times in the knockout stage and was crowded out by defenders.

However, Dragic produced a superb shooting display, converting five of his seven 3-pointers and all six of his jumpers to finish the game with 27 points, four assists and three rebounds. While Doncic also produced a double-double, it was Zoran Dragic’s performance that saw Slovenia past the line and qualify for the semis.

#2 Kevin Durant vs France (Final)

Kevin Durant
Kevin Durant

After suffering in the first game of the competition against the same opposition, Durant was not having it the second time around in the final. He was the only Team USA player who scored more than 20 points on the night.

A strong French team saw both Fournier and Rudy Gobert produce 16 points, while multiple other players also tallied double digits. However, Kevin Durant finished with 29 points, six rebounds and three assists to ensure Team USA returned home with the gold.

#1 Patty Mills vs Slovenia (Bronze Medal Playoff)

Patty Mills
Patty Mills

With both Australia and Slovenia eyeing their first ever medal in Olympics basketball, Patty Mills’ astounding 42-point display for the former led to Slovenia and Luka Doncic losing their patience.

Mills was simply inspirational, and played more than 37 minutes, effectively nullifying a 22-point and eight-assist performance from Luka Doncic.

On the night, Mills converted 11 of his 16 2-pointers and was a thorn in Slovenia’s defense all game. He came in late to inspire an onslaught which effectively put the Slovenians out of the game to clinch Australia the bronze.

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Edited by Bhargav
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