Durant leads US to another basketball gold, 96-66 over Serbia

Rio de Janeiro, Aug.
22, (GNA/dpa) – Kevin Durant was on fire again as the United States trounced
Serbia 96-66 in the basketball final for the last gold medal on offer at the
Rio de Janeiro Olympics which were to close later Sunday.

The 2014 NBA Most
Valuable Player led the way with 30 points as the US overcame a sluggish first
quarter by dominating the second 33-14 en route to a third gold in a row and
15th gold overall in the sport.

Durant was also the
top scorer in the 2012 Olympic tournament and its final against Spain (also
with 30 points), while DeMarcus Cousins had 13 points and 15 rebounds. Nemanja
Nedovic paced Serbia with 14 points.

Carmelo Anthony, the
only US player with Olympic experience other than Durant, became the most
successful Olympic basketballer with a third personal gold.

The 2016 class under
coach Mike Krzyewski may not have had quite the flair of past teams but
overcame some testing group games with narrow wins over Australia, France and
Serbia for another gold.

The Serbs, beaten
just 94-91 in the group game, had hoped for a similarly close contest but were
up to the task only in the first quarter as they lost almost as heavily against
the US as in the 2014 World Cup final which ended 129-92.

Sunday’s victory
also perfectly ended the overall US showing in Rio where they had also won the
first of 306 golds from shooter Virginia Thrasher and topped the final medal
table with 121 medals from a 46-37-38 haul.

The game got off to
a nervous start as it took almost a minute before Milan Macvan opened the
scoring with a three-pointer for the Serbs.

DeAndre Jordan made
it 3-2 but missed tying the match from the free-throw line, underlining that
the NBA stars were not in the game yet, with Serbia making life difficult for
them.

The quarter nonetheless
ended 19-15 in the US’ favour, thanks to a first three-pointer from Durant, but
they also had two rare travelling violations, and the ball stolen four times.

Durant started a 9-0
run which woke up the team and the US led 52-29 by half-time as Durant raised
his tally to 24 points thanks to five more three-pointers and two slam dunks.

The final two
quarters were a mere formality but amid “we want more” chants from
the US fans the points kept coming even though Krzyzewski brought out the
reserves in the final quarter.

In the bronze medal
match, Sergio Rodriguez converted two free throws with 5.4 seconds left as
Spain salvaged an 89-88 victory over Australia who finished fourth a fourth
time the past seven Olympics.

Rodriguez drew a foul
from Patty Mills and stayed cool on his only free throws of the match for
victory. Pau Gasol paced Spain with 31 points while Mills led the way for the
Boomers with 30.

GNA

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