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USA 87-82 France: 5 Takeaways as Kevin Durant scores 29 points to lead Americans to gold medal win in Olympics 2021

Kevin Durant #7 and Devin Booker #15 celebrate following their victory over France.
Kevin Durant #7 and Devin Booker #15 celebrate following their victory over France.
ANALYST

Team USA won the gold medal in basketball after defeating France in the title game of the 2021 Tokyo Olympics in Saitama, Japan. Saturday’s win was a nail-biter as the USA squad had to sweat it out to come away with the victory.

Kevin Durant was the top scorer for Team USA once again with 29 points to power the Americans to another gold medal. Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier scored 16 points apiece to lead France.

The game wasn’t decided until the final seconds as Team USA held on to a precarious three-point lead with only 10.0 seconds remaining after two free throws by France’s Nando De Colo. It was preceded by two missed free throws by Damian Lillard with 23 seconds left in the game that would have put the US ahead by nine.

A dunk by Frank Ntilikina and De Colo’s foul shots gave France new life. But Durant came to the rescue for Team USA again with two free throws to finish the scoring.

Here are five takeaways from Team USA’s victory over Team France:

#1 Kevin Durant stars for Team USA

Kevin Durant #7 reacts during the second half.
Kevin Durant #7 reacts during the second half.

Durant has been Team USA’s best player throughout the Olympics and he showed in the gold medal game that he just might be the best in the world. In the first half, the former NBA MVP scored 21 points as his teammates mostly deferred to him to take most of the shots.

He was the first player on Team USA to make a 3-pointer against France on Saturday with his teammates starting off cold from beyond the arc.

What’s baffling, though, was the lack of touches that Durant had in the fourth quarter when he was far and away their best option on offense. But it was only fitting that he scored the winning free throws for Team USA that sealed the win. Durant also added six rebounds and three assists.

#2 Team USA forced France into several turnovers

Head Coach Gregg Popovich talks strategy with Zachary Lavine #5.
Head Coach Gregg Popovich talks strategy with Zachary Lavine #5.

With their three-point shooting failing them, Team USA needed to amp up the defensive pressure and it worked. The US forced France to cough up the ball 18 times which translated into 20 points off turnovers. Durant and company scored 13 fast break points to just seven for the French to give them a bit of an advantage.

The defense on the perimeter made up for Team USA losing out on the boards, 41-34, which consequently resulted in 14 second chance points for France compared to just seven for the Americans.

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Edited by Arnav

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