Olympic Games 2021 Final: The United States takes its fourth consecutive gold medal

por Roberto Anidos publicado en 2021 Decade 2020 France Olympic Games United States

The 2020 Olympic Games, held in Tokyo, were forced to be postponed to 2021 because of the coronavirus pandemic. In the semifinals, the United States had little trouble beating Australia (97-78). Much more disputed was the semifinal between Doncic’s Slovenia and France, which was decided in favor of the Gauls by (90-89) thanks to a block by Batum in the last play. In the grand final, the United States won the Gold by beating France by a narrow (87-82). It was a victory without much shine but really effective, led by Durant who won his third gold. France, 21 years later, felt again the sweet cold of the silver. In the fight for the bronze medal, Australia broke its jinx in the Games and won the metal beating Slovenia (107-93) with a stellar Mills (42 points 9 assists)

Kevin Durant, with 29 points (21 in the first half) showed the way against France and the United States won its fourth consecutive gold. France, 21 years later, returns to Silver

Gregg Popovich can breathe easy. The fourth time was the charm, as he won his first title as part of the U.S. coaching staff. After being as an assistant in the 2002 World Cup and Athens 2004, in addition to the 2019 World Cup which was the worst place (7th) in the history of Team USA in Pop’s first game as successor of Coach K. The Spurs coach had the pressure to win the gold in Tokyo 2020 and he did it hand in hand with Kevin Durant, who had another outstanding performance in an Olympic final to guide the 87-82 victory of the United States against France.

Durant was the key player in the draft to make this edition of Team USA. After his commitment came Lillard, Booker, Tatum and more, and one of the best scorers in history once again rose to the occasion in the final: he fell short of the 30 in the London and Rio finals, but was just one shy in Tokyo of becoming the leading scorer in U.S. Olympic history.

Durant largely explains the difference between the first group stage game against France and what happened in the rematch in the duel for the gold. Now he did not get into foul trouble, in the first quarter he already had more points than in the debut (12 vs. 10).

The U.S. started slow again (0 of 8 in three-pointers), but was better than the starts against Spain and Australia. Durant took the reins in the small initial crisis (10-4) and with a 16-6 run to close the first quarter, the Americans ended up winning 22-18. Since Durant scored three free throws to make it 18-15, the U.S. never trailed again.

France was on the brink in the second half, down by as much as 14, but with free throws they stayed in the game tooth and nail. Of course, if they had missed less from the line (18 of 29), perhaps another song would sing, especially because Evan Fournier was far from repeating the 28 of the first duel. Jrue Holiday effect. The Bucks’ champion point guard limited him to 16 on 5 of 15 from the field and France had no answers from the perimeter.

Still, France was within eight points (71-63) at the end of three quarters. Durant began to show signs of fatigue and Team USA managed only two points in the first four minutes of the final period. Nando de Colo, on the rampage, was cutting back and Frank Ntilikina, just another spectator in the first half, came in and with a three-pointer made it 73-70.

The worried faces were there for Team USA, similar to the final against Spain in Beijing. There, Kobe Bryant rescued them with a 3+1 and 13 years later, it was Damian Lillard, one of the most pointed out in the tournament, who made two baskets that opened the margin again to 10. It seemed all under control, but mistakes from the line of Lillard himself and some losses put the game 85-82. Durant made it five from the line with 8.8 to play and Batum missed the last «blue» attempt. France came close, but never gave the real sensation of being able to overcome the United States. Deserved medals for both teams.

United States 87
*Holiday – 11p, 5r, 3br.
*Booker – 2p, 1a, 1br.
*Lillard – 11p, 3a, 1r.
*Durant – 29p, 6r, 3a.
*Adebayo – 6p, 6r, 4a.
Tatum – 19p, 7r, 1br.
Green – 0p, 5a, 2r.
Lavine – 5p.
Middleton – 4p, 1r, 1a.
K.Johnson –
Grant –
McGee –

France 82
*De Colo – 12p, 7a, 5r.
*Fournier – 16p, 3r, 2a.
*Batum – 5p, 6r, 3a.
*Yabusele – 13p, 4r, 2a.
*Gobert – 16p, 8r.
Luwawu-Cabarrot – 11p, 4r, 1a.
Fall – 4p, 1r, 1a.
Heurtel – 0p, 4a, 1r.
Ntilikina – 5p, 2a, 1r.
Poirier – 0p, 1r.
Albicy –
Cornelie –