Just seven minutes remained in the third quarter, and Kevin Durant from the United States lost control of his ball. His team was only six points ahead of the Czech Republic when it lost its grip. He had a great record to break and was playing brilliantly but had no company from his fellow teammates.
Durant tried to grab the ball and Czech Republic’s guard Tomas Satoransky approached him from the other direction. However, Satoransky was able to pass directly through Durant. Durant was whistled after the collision. He checked that all his bicuspids and incisors were properly in place and called for a foul.
Durant is America’s most valuable player in this tournament. He will have to play for Team USA if they are to win the fourth consecutive gold medal for men’s basketball.
The U.S. suddenly brought life to what had previously been an inert performance. Americans then adopted a simple approach: “Don’t get angry, get mad.”
OLYMPIC STANDINGS: Updated results from 2021 men’s tournament bracket
The unsportsmanlike foul against Draymond green, when it seemed he was trying be sportsmanlike, followed by Durant being pushed over the baseline while on a breakaway layup. All of these calls were either brief opportunities for the Czechs, or they prevented some minor disasters. However, it all contributed to a tired U.S. sideline. It was USA 119 and Czech Republic 84 at the end of forty minutes.
The United States scored 29 points from the time Durant was thrown in the face to the end of the third period, while the Czech Republic only managed 13. The fourth quarter was a bad one. Jayson Tatum gave his full attention to Durant and helped him build the points differential that will give the Americans a better seed for Tuesday’s quarterfinal round. Team USA scored 21 goals in the second half.
Keldon Johnson, reserve wing, said that the team has been playing basketball as they know how. We were somewhat hesitant and stumbling in the first game. As you can see, things have changed. We are now playing free and having fun.
Durant’s six-pointer against the Czechs was the sixth of his career. Durant’s transition 3-pointer in quarter 2 was the last of the players to pass that list, which also includes LeBron James, David Robinson and LeBron James. He had scored 14 points by halftime but only the U.S. held a lead of 47 to 43.
Durant stated that although we started slow in the first quarter, we were able to get to our goals in the second quarter. Durant shared his thoughts with NBC Sports. Our guys were exceptional tonight. The guys got straight to the point and won.
Tatum was the most successful player in this category, scoring 26.4 points per game for the Celtics in their last season of the NBA. However, Tatum had only made three of 12 attempts at the 3-point line during the Olympic Games before Saturday.
In his postgame press conference, Gregg Popovich stated that he had told Jayson to play like he was playing for the Spurs. He scores 90 every time he plays for us.”
In the last five minutes, Tatum made as many threes as he did in the Olympics’ first 80 minutes. Tatum scored 17 points during the fourth quarter. He also scored 21 after the Durant collision, and 27 overall.
Tatum said that it felt great to see some shots go in. I think that we are playing better every single game and that is what we wanted: to perform better than last year’s tournament. Any member of our team could do the same thing I did tonight on any night. That’s why I believe we are so lively.
If that is the case, the problem is finding out which player will deliver the “any night” that the Americans need.
Durant must be Durant in this situation. Durant must still be the same player that he was against the Czechs. He was the leader of the team’s assists, rebound and points when he left the game. With 23 points, he shot 8 of 11 and had six assists and eight rebounds.
Damian Lillard is the team’s point-guard, but he can create his own shots better than others, so Durant makes up for this. They were 6-8 Draymond green and 6-9 Bam Adebayo’s center, facing 7-footers in all three of their Group A matches. Durant assists with rebounding as well as defense.
At this stage, there is no way of knowing who the Americans will face next. Draw will determine the quarterfinal matches so no team could try to win against an opponent in single-elimination play.
Seeding will take place for the top three teams from each group — France, Australia, and Sunday’s intriguing Group C match between Spain and Slovenia. The best second-place team will also be seeded. The U.S., Italy and the winner of the Group C final will all have 2-1 records. Therefore, point differential is the tiebreaker. The Americans outscored their rivals by an average of 82 points after defeating Iran and Czechs. No. They are safe at No. 4, but they face challengers in the knockout phase.
Popovich failed to protect Durant in France’s opening loss and was able to get only 20 minutes. This cannot be repeated.
Publited Sat 31 July 2021 at 18:29.01 +0000