Team USA is used to adversity.
Revered worldwide as the most talented roster on the globe, the U.S. unexpectedly dropped an exhibition match against both the Nigerian and Australian men’s national basketball team prior to the official start of the Olympic Games and dropped one of their first game in the tournament to France.
Now, in the semifinals in a rematch with the Boomers—Australia’s men’s national basketball team—Team USA found themselves down by 15 points early in the game.
Australia, led by guard Patty Mills, came out with a practical game plan: play solid defense, and grind down the Americans.
However, there is one factor that even if the Australian team prepared for, they would find it nearly impossible to solve: offensive superweapon Kevin Durant.
Durant, a merciless scorer, put Team USA on his back in the first half with seven made baskets, finishing the game with a team-high 23 points. Led by Durant, Devin Booker and Jrue Holiday, the Americans stormed back, winning the game 97-78.
“When you are a great team and you’re playing a team who feels that it’s going to be tough to beat us, they’re going to come out and play their best brand of basketball,” Durant said. “They’re going to play perfect basketball, and I felt like that’s what they did in that first half, and once we went down three going into halftime, I felt like we had the game in hand.”
Team USA will now face off against France in the gold medal game.
France is coming off a nail-biting 90-89 victory over Slovenia, knocking out wunderkind Luka Doncic in the process.
If the Americans prevail, it will be their fourth straight gold medal in the competition.