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Kevin Durant Led Team USA To Its Fourth Straight Olympic Gold Medal With A Win Over France

Kevin Durant’s 29 points led the United States to a fourth straight Olympic gold medal on Friday night in a 87-82 win over France.

Team USA started 0-for-7 from deep, including open misses from Devin Booker and Damian Lillard, before they started to finally work it inside. Meanwhile, France was able to get comfortable, work the ball inside, and control the tempo.

That is, until Kevin Durant went into takeover mode and scored seven quick points to tie the game at 15 with about two minutes to play in the first. Durant played most of the first quarter and the U.S. needed every second from him. He closed out the period with 12 of Team USA’s 22 points.

As was to be expected, Rudy Gobert had a field day on the glass because of the lack of a traditional center in Team USA’s rotation. Gobert had four boards in the first period. The U.S. extended its lead in the second period, with Jayson Tatum getting hot and pouring in a few jumpers early to put his team up nine.

France left Gobert out of the game for a while (some might say too long), and right when he checked back in, Gobert picked up a technical foul out of frustration.

To close the half, France was able to get into the bonus and catch up to the U.S. by piling on free throws. France closed the half down just five, having gone 12-for-19 from the line.

Gobert continued to get to the line to open the second half, but Durant’s response was better. With Jrue Holiday pressuring full-court and Devin Booker holding up well in point-of-attack defense, Team USA was able to force France to trade two for threes. Durant led the way.

Team USA followed that up with some smart team ball that allowed them to get inside for back-to-back paint shots for Zach LaVine and Tatum. They pushed the ball off misses and turnovers by France and quickly converted them into points on the other end.

After the U.S. took a 71-57 lead, France responded with a 6-0 run to end the third period that ended with a clutch three from Nicolas Batum in the corner. The U.S. led by just eight heading into the final quarter.

Soon after the fourth began, Gobert went to the bench with about 8:30 to go after picking up his third foul. A moment later, Khris Middleton was called for a travel, giving France the ball with a two-possession deficit. From there, it was a defensive battle for a few minutes until Frank Ntilikina hit a triple to cut the lead to three.

Somehow, Gobert remained on the bench throughout all of this, and did not return until the 3:59 mark with France down seven again. Tatum hit a huge three after that to put Team USA up double digits again.

France got some luck late with a three from Evan Fournier, but he got a little too comfortable and tried an even deeper jumper the next time down that missed. From there, a failed in-bounds pass may have put a scare in Team USA, but the lead was padded enough at that point that the U.S. walked away with the gold.

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