This was the last gold medal of Rio 2016 and the 25th Olympic victory of Team USA, which also had ideal 8-0 records in 2008 Beijing and 2012 London.
Rio de Janeiro, Aug. 22, (GNA/dpa) – Kevin Durant was on fire again as the United States trounced Serbia 96-66 in the basketball final for the last gold medal on offer at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics which were to close later Sunday. This team also had a pair of three-point victories over France and Serbia in pool play and were far from the dominant team that appeared in the gold medal game during most of the tournament.
Since Colangelo took over the program in 2005, the Americans have won seven straight FIBA titles in all.
Earlier in the day, Spain won the bronze medal with an 89-88 win over Australia.
Durant, specifically, comes to mind due to his previous workload as the Oklahoma City Thunder’s primary scorer and his stellar play in Brazil. He ruled out returning for Tokyo 2020. This is it for me. “I committed to this in . I’ve seen the worst and I’ve seen the best”.
For assistant coach Williams, whose wife was killed in a auto accident earlier this year, it’s a bittersweet, emotional gold medal.
“I’m all for raising the bar for global basketball”, he told USA Today.
Serbia’s head coach Sasha Djordjevic, who was a member of the Yugoslavian Olympic team in 1996, said, “I’m proud of both of them (silver medals), but I lost both games”.
The 10 Olympic newcomers seemed to be jelling slowly and the US had a pair of three-point victories and came in winning by just 21.4 points per game, more than 10 per game fewer than four years ago and about half the 43.8 the Dream Team won by in 1992.
Durant, who has recently switched from Oklahoma City Thunder to National Basketball Association finalist Golden State Warriors, took the game by the scruff of the neck after an untidy first quarter. The two were the only players back from the 2012 squad, their 10 teammates all Olympic first-timers.
That raised doubts about the ability of the newly assembled team to play as a unit and handle the perpetual motion of worldwide play. The U.S. wasn’t. “It was about taking the fight to them and I thought we did a great job of doing that tonight”.
“For me”, he added with unmistakable relief, “I’m glad we got past this”. He’s Team USA’s all-time leader in games, points and rebounds.
Team USA led the game by 52-29 at half-time and Serbia never overcame the deficit.
“We’re a confident group”. He took the trio out together for one final time with 5:44 left in the game.
In the second half, it was only a matter of settling the final margin and adding to the United States of America highlight reel. Carmelo Anthony (USA) of the USA is hugged by Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA.
The Americans had difficulty breaking down a determined Serb defense in the opening quarter but still ground out a 19-15 lead.
Sunday’s victory also perfectly ended the overall U.S. showing in Rio where they had also won the first of 306 golds from shooter Virginia Thrasher and topped the final medal table with 121 medals from a 46-37-38 haul.