Three Olympics in a row have seen the United States own gold, making it the American platform property for the middle medals.
The Australians did everything possible to push them away.
Kevin Durant stated that “they hit us with an impressive punch” after their men’s Olympic semifinals matchup. “We knew that the team would get us down quickly and we wanted to see how they’d respond.”
Australia was disappointed with the outcome.
Durant was 23 points and Devin Booker had 20, respectively. The U.S. beat the Aussies 97 to 78 on Thursday, after falling in a 15 point hole.
Their gold-medal streak was in danger midway through the second period. The Americans overtook the Australians with a 48-14 stretch, giving them a 74–55 lead after three periods.
The U.S. failed its first 10 3-point attempts, and it didn’t make one until the end of the second quarter. It felt like the Americans missed a lot of 3-pointers, Booker scoring three.
Booker stated, “Obviously, getting down fifteen points means you have to take it up a notch.”
Jrue Holiday had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the U.S., which will play France for a fourth straight gold medal Saturday. In their Olympic opener, the French defeated the Americans 83 to76.
This was part of a 2-to-1 start for the U.S. summer, which also included a loss against the Australians in an Exhibition game in Las Vegas.
The Americans are no longer that team.
They look like the greatest team in the world, just like those who won gold with ease.
It is clear that the Americans hold onto gold, and it will take more than a few bad moments for anyone to remove it from them.
Patty Mills scored 15 for Australia, which still needs to win the Olympic basketball championship.
Although they have been fourth at the Olympics four times, including 2016, the Australians believe that this year they will be able to bring home gold.
It looked like they would have a chance for 1 1/2 quarters.
They defeated the No. 1 team in the world and dropped the Americans to a second double-digit deficit in just two games. The U.S. is the No. 1 ranked team and looks capable of forcing them to settle for Olympic gold, for the first time since 2004 when the Americans brought home bronze.
The U.S. won the second half and beat Australia 9 to 0.
“In the locker-room, it was basically, ‘How bad would you like it?’ and we came out with exactly the same intention as we did in the first part,” Nic Kay from Australia said. We didn’t achieve the level of performance we wanted. It is regrettable.
Minutes before the first semifinal, another bizarre scene occurred in these most unlikely Olympics. Durant and Mills were warming themselves up for their shooting routines. The public address announcer repeatedly pleaded with players to clear the court.
Both his attempts at halfcourt failed. His long-range shooting was not perfect.
At least, for a while, so were the Americans.
The Australians led by eight points, while the Americans held on to one basket for more than four minutes. After Chris Goulding’s final 2-pointer, Australia led 24-18 at the end of the first quarter.
The U.S. continued to misfire from behind the arc, and even had some shaky minutes at the rim. Khris Middleton attempted an open dunk coming off the baseline, but it was unsuccessful. He slammed his ball into the front rim.
Midway through the second, eight consecutive points were scored by the Australians. Dante Exum hit a 3-pointer. Matisse Thybulle scored on the break to convert a three-point play. Exum then lobbed Jock Landale, making it 41-26 with 5 minutes remaining.
The Australians only managed one basket for the remainder of the match and will be able to look back on that stretch if they don’t win a medal. With 2:59 left, they still lead by 11, but the Americans reduced the gap to 45-42 at halftime.
“Last five minute of the second quarter, they were amazing and it continued into third,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich stated.
The Americans began the second half with two baskets from Holiday, and two more from Durant. The U.S. led by nine points when the Australians scored a basket just four minutes into the second half.
The United States outscored Australia 32-10, and was leading 74-55 going into the fourth quarter.
Durant stated, “Everything fell in place for us in the second half and that is who we are.”