Kevin Durant scored a record 52 points to lead Team USA past the Czech Republic, 91-72. The Americans moved into second place in Group B behind Spain, who beat Japan earlier in the day, and will likely meet them in the quarterfinals.
Kevin Durant powers Team USA’s rout of Czech Republic on record night at Tokyo Olympics. The where is kevin durant from was a game that had many records broken, including the most points scored in an Olympic game.
SAITAMA, JAPAN – SAITAMA, JAPAN – Kevin Durant’s commitment to participate in the Tokyo Olympics was the greatest thing Team USA had going for them this summer. He reminded everyone why on Saturday.
Durant added another outstanding effort to his Team USA résumé in a 119-84 win against the Czech Republic on a night when he became the all-time top American scorer in the Olympics.
The victory advanced the squad to the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Following their dismal opening defeat to France, they have won back-to-back blowouts, putting them in a good position for their next opponent’s draw on Sunday. The Americans will be seeded fourth and will face either Italy or the loser of Sunday’s match between Spain and Slovenia’s Luka Doncic.
Durant scored 23 points on 8-of-11 shooting, which was crucial for the cause, but his playmaking and defense were as essential, as he grabbed eight rebounds and dished out six assists. He was outstanding in the third quarter, scoring 10 points and dishing out four assists as the game moved from a close contest to a comfortable blowout.
“Didn’t it seem to be simple? It seemed to be simple “Jrue Holiday commented on his new teammate’s performance. “It’s entertaining to watch and much more entertaining to be a part of.”
Durant guarded the Czech big men, blocked 3-point attempts on the outside, fought for rebounds inside to spark fast breaks, and served as a point forward for periods. With a few silky jumpers thrown in for good measure, it was all the squad could have hoped for from its leader.
“Since I was eight years old, every team I’ve played on has demanded a lot of me. It’s the same situation here “Durant said. “However, I believe I must be ready to accomplish anything on the court…. I’ve worked hard to get there, and it’s a lot of fun.”
He’d gotten off to a slow start in Tokyo, scoring only 20 points in the first two games while shooting just 40%. Durant wasn’t running at full pace even in the warm-up games in Vegas, admitting that everything felt like practice, and he shot only 43%. Then he fouled out of the Americans’ first defeat against France, which was a major reason in their offensive problems.
Durant had fallen into the background in the first week of the competition, with Doncic, who scored 48 points in his debut Olympic game, and Australia’s Patty Mills putting up strong performances.
As he searched for his shot early on Saturday, he lost all of his sluggishness. The Czechs had gotten off to a fast start, hitting eight of their first 11 shots and leading by ten points. However, Durant led a drive to overcome them, with his second-quarter 3-pointer giving the United States the lead for good.
It was a significant shot since it not only put the team ahead, but it also moved Durant (354 points) over Carmelo Anthony (336) for the all-time scoring lead. Durant’s international career has been flawless, culminating at the 2010 World Cup in Turkey, when he cemented his place as the national team’s focal point for the next decade.
It was also a game-changer for Jayson Tatum, who scored 27 points and made five 3-pointers in his finest game of the summer. Tatum, who had been troubled by a slight knee issue in Vegas, had been sent to the bench. Coach Gregg Popovich had expected him to be a key contributor off the bench, but he had only shot 40% in the first two games.
“Just seeing those shots go in felt nice,” Tatum said. “We’re getting better with each game, and that’s what we anticipated throughout the tournament: to be better than we were the previous game.”
Holiday scored 11 points and three thefts on the defensive end, when he pressed the ball aggressively and picked off three passes.
Blake Schilb, a former Loyola Chicago player, led the Czechs with 17 points.
In other action, Mills scored 24 points, Jock Landale added 18, as Australia drew away from Germany to win 89-76 and complete the group stage unbeaten. Nick Kay scored 16 points to help the Australians eventually break away in a tight contest.
The Australians won Group B 3-0, a well-balanced pool in which they, Italy, and Germany all played tough games.
Italy has clinched a place in the Olympic quarterfinals after defeating Nigeria. Nicolo Melli had 15 points, Nico Mannion had 14, and Italy won the Group B men’s basketball final 80-71 with a 14-0 surge in the fourth quarter.
Nigeria’s Chimezie Metu had 22 points and Jordan Nwora had 20. In their first Olympic participation under coach Mike Brown, the Nigerians began the summer with exhibition victories against the United States and Argentina in Las Vegas.
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