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

Omar Josef Guerrero

#3 Clutch shots from Team USA

<a href='' target='_blank' rel='noopener noreferrer'>Jayson Tatum</a> #10 goes up for a dunk against Nicolas Batum #5.
Jayson Tatum #10 goes up for a dunk against Nicolas Batum #5.

Team USA scored when they needed to. As the game wound down to the final six minutes of the fourth quarter, both rims seemed to have a lid on them. But Damian Lillard made two jumpers while Jrue Holiday scored on a dunk, then Jayson Tatum made a 3-pointer with 3:24 remaining to put the US ahead by 10 points.

The trio’s scoring binge helped Team USA to pull away a bit from Team France which cut the Americans’ lead down to three on a three-pointer by Ntilikina with 5:42 left in the game.

#4 Jrue Holiday’s superb defense

Head Coach Gregg Popovich talks strategy with Jrue Holiday #12.
Head Coach Gregg Popovich talks strategy with Jrue Holiday #12.

Holiday’s reputation as a defensive stopper is well-known and he made sure that France knew it as well. The Milwaukee Bucks guard stifled the French into giving up the ball multiple times with him on the floor. He stole the ball on three occasions and even blocked a field goal attempt in the third quarter, keeping the French from feeling comfortable executing their plays with Holiday on the floor.

Similar to his defense in the NBA Finals on Chris Paul, Holiday put the clamps on France’s Frank Ntilikina and Nando de Colo.

During a key possession by France with Team USA up by just five points midway through the fourth quarter, Holiday stole the ball from Ntilikina at the top of the key and sailed home for an uncontested breakaway dunk with 5:10 left to play.

#5 Team USA shot more field goals

Credit Team USA for their defense as the primary reason why they won this ball game. With the way they were shooting the ball from 3-point territory (9-of-32) and at the line (14-of-21), there was almost no way for the US to win this.

However, the Americans stole the ball nine times and blocked five shots (aside from the 18 forced turnovers), to give them extra possessions which then translated into more attempts from the floor.

Overall, Team USA shot the ball 70 times compared to France which took only 58 shots from the field. The huge discrepancy in field goal attempts was one of the major reasons why the US won as they made 32 of their attempts compared to just 27 makes for France.

Also Read: 3 Veterans LA Lakers can still pursue in 2021 NBA Free Agency

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Edited by Arnav Kholkar
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