An 8-0 march to gold was capped by a resounding 96-66 romp against Serbia on August 21, completing the US basketball program’s mission in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
The best players in the world are still nearly all American-born and AAU-bred, and that is proven night after night in the NBA and every two years when the USA men’s national team competes internationally.
Smile: Kevin Durant takes selfies with fans after winning the men’s basketball gold medal. In the preliminary rounds, the US had to eke out three-point wins against Serbia and France. Nemanja Nedovic had 14 points to pace Serbia. The Americans pushed a four-point first quarter lead to 23 points by halftime.
Carmelo Anthony scored seven points and added seven rebounds en route to his third gold medal, the most in Olympic basketball history.
Jerry Colangelo doesn’t buy that any imbalance is the fault of the U.S. Colangelo was brought in by USA Basketball to fix things in the wake of the 2004 Olympic disaster, in which Team USA lost three games and settled for bronze.
The two-time gold medalist said playing for the United States in Rio was like “therapy” after signing with the Golden State Warriors last month.
“I know this is the end, this is it for me”, Anthony said. “I committed to something”.
“Coach said, ‘I want to see that guy again, ‘” Durant said.
Krzyzewski, who will continue coaching at powerhouse Duke University, is confident US basketball will continue to thrive, especially with Popovich, five times NBA champion as Spurs head coach, set to take over. He took the reins in 2005 and helped to bring the United States back to the pinnacle of the worldwide basketball world.
US scraped to a three point win the group stages of the competition, but they showed no mercy as they surged to 52-29 half time lead which gave them the initiative to go on in the second half and claim a 25 straight win on the Olympic hardwood.
It’s been an incredible journey for Butler, from his hard childhood to his time navigating through the college ranks and eventually to Chicago, the National Basketball Association, a lucrative contract and now, a gold medal.
The U.S. has won 76 games in a row in global competition, and many of them have not been close. Much of the turnaround can be attributed to a renewed defensive effort – a hallmark of Coach K’s previous Olympic teams.
US coach Geno Auriemma was impressed with how the leaders set examples – on and off the court – for the younger players to follow. With the US up, 16-15, Durant pulled up from beyond the top of the key for a three-pointer to put the Americans up four heading into the first break.
Serbia thrilled throughout the tournament, making an improbable run to the final.
USA Basketball finally dominated an opponent in the 2016 Rio Olympics.
Alan Busenitz got Ronnier Mustelier to hit into a forceout with a runner on first to end the game for his first save of the season.
Durant, who led the National Basketball Association in points five straight years from 2009-14, didn’t need to be asked twice. With the win, Team USA – this 2016 version that was led by Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Paul George and all the rest – has won 52 consecutive games in FIBA play (24 in the Olympics).
“We got together on July 17 and we set our minds on winning the gold medal”.