Although preparations for the games were disrupted as a number of players decided not to participate, Team USA has claimed its fourth successive Olympic gold medal in men’s basketball. The final was a rerun of the team’s opening match, as USA triumphed 87-82 over France, driven largely by Kevin Durant.
The final score made this game the tightest Olympic men’s or women’s basketball final in almost 50 years, since the Soviet Union beat Team USA by just one point in 1972.
Durant continued his good form into the gold medal match, having top scored in the semi-final and surpassed Carmelo Anthony as Team USA’s top Olympic points scorer earlier in the tournament. Up against France, the Brooklyn Nets forward scored 29 points and played the most minutes out of anyone on the team.
French player Rudy Gobert of Utah Jazz paid tribute to Durant after the game, saying, “We tried to make things tough for him, we tried to make him work as hard as we can, but he’s Kevin Durant. You know he’s going to hit some shots that only him in the world can hit. I think he’s the best scorer in basketball, he’s going to do what he does, especially on the biggest stage like an Olympic Games. We knew he was going to do his thing and he did.”
Overall, Team USA currently has 33 gold medals, slightly behind China’s tally of 38. Team USA, however, has won significantly more bronze and silver medals than any other team at the tournament.
In other Olympics news, Team USA’s Sydney McLaughlin broke the world record as she won the 400-meter hurdles earlier this week.