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Tokyo Olympics | USA a match away from fourth straight gold

Easily done: Kevin Durant, centre, celebrates victory with teammates.   | Photo Credit: TextEditorbody html {height:100%} body p {padding: 0px;margin-top: 0;margin-bottom: 6pt} body div {p

Kevin Durant and Team USA trounced Australia on Thursday in the men’s basketball semifinals and will play for their fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal when they take on France in the final.

The Americans overcame an early deficit and ran away with the game for a 97-78 rout, while France needed a blocked shot in the final second to edge Slovenia 90-89. The Americans, champions at the previous three Games, got off to a rocky start, shooting poorly and racking up fouls that let Australia build a 15-point lead in the second quarter.

The United States rallied in the second half, opening with 12 unanswered points. A barrage of three-pointers and dunks widened the gap to 19 points by the final buzzer. The Americans have historically been the team to beat, with 15 men’s basketball gold medals since 1936.

But the team in Tokyo has proven to be vulnerable, dropping two-straight exhibition games in July and suffering its first Olympic defeat since 2004 against France earlier in the event.

But it all came together in the semifinals, Durant leading the way with 23 points.

Slovenia’s Luka Doncic of Dallas Mavericks had a triple double — 16 points, 18 assists and 10 rebounds — but came up short against France.

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Printable version | Sep 22, 2021 10:39:18 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/sport/other-sports/tokyo-olympics-usa-a-match-away-from-fourth-straight-gold/article35755680.ece

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