Durant-led USA storm back to beat Australia in semi-finals


Slam it!: Australia’s Matisse Thybulle goes for the basket against the United States in the semi-finals. — AFP

SAITAMA: Kevin Durant and Team USA trounced Australia 97-78 in the men’s basketball semi-finals to move into the final and just one victory away from a fourth straight gold in the Olympics.

The win was a measure of revenge against a team that had upset the United States at an exhibition game in Las Vegas last month. The Americans, champions at the previous three Games, got off to a rocky start, shooting poorly and racking up fouls that let Australia build a 15-point lead in the second quarter.

But the US team rallied in the second half, led by Durant, opening with 12 unanswered points. A barrage of three-pointers and dunks widened the point gap by the final buzzer.

“I’ve got to give credit to Australia, they came out and hit us with a nice haymaker,” said Durant, who in these Games surpassed Carmelo Anthony as Team USA’s highest Olympic scorer.

“We were able to get some momentum going to the half. Guys came out with that intensity, man, we made shots as well,” he said.

“I feel like everything aligned for us in that second half, and that’s who we are.”

The United States will now face the winner of France versus Slovenia for the gold medal match tomorrow. Australia will play for the bronze the same day. — Reuters

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Sweet revenge

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