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Saitama (Japan) (AFP)
The United States will fight for its fourth consecutive Olympic gold in men’s basketball by qualifying for the final after beating Australia (97-78), this Thursday in Saitama, and will play on Saturday for the gold with the winner of France-Slovenia.
Australia, who reached the semifinals unbeaten, will remain in this round again (fourth in 1988, 1996, 2000 and 2016) and will have the chance to win their first medal in the match for third place.
For the North American team its leader Kevin Durant shone again, with 23 points. He was not successful from the triple, 2/7 but he signed 9/12 in shots of two and threw the team on his back in the third quarter comeback, after losing the entire first half.
“I think they wanted to take a quick advantage and cause us fear, but we did not fall. In the previous game and in this one we came back in the second half playing well. The coach chose a good defensive scheme and we took momentum. With great energy and struggle we achieved a good advantage, “Durant summed up.
He was backed by Jrue Holiday, the most consistent of his team in the tournament (11 points, 8 rebounds and 8 assists) and Devin Booker, with his best game in Tokyo, in which he scored 20 points.
Unstoppable in the first 15 minutes, Australia missed a better performance from Patty Mills, who finished with 15 points but failed to appear in the North American reaction. Dante Exum contributed 12 and Jock Landale 11.
– A dreamy quarter of an hour –
Australia was 15 points ahead against a ‘Team USA’ who was not able to score once on the counterattack in the first half and who did not hit on their first 11 triples.
The oceanic team had signed the initial 20 dreamed minutes, although the NBA partial in the last 5 threw their work from the previous 15 to the side.
The United States traced the three points behind that remained at the beginning of the third quarter with two baskets from Holiday and chained a 9-0 run.
As in the previous duels, the players led by Gregg Popovich had left the locker room ready to push their physical work on defense to the limit against an Australia that took four minutes to score their first basket.
And Durant continued with his display of long range shots and some triple, accompanied by a Devin Booker who had his best scoring minutes in the tournament.
From being 15 points under to being 19 over at the end of the third quarter, in which they passed over the ‘Boomers’ with a partial score of 32-10.
Australia was locked out and Zach Lavine was having fun with a pair of contest dunks. With four minutes to go, Boomers coach Brian Goorjian sat down his best players and began to think about the bronze fight.
© 2021 AFP