Team USA rallied from a 15-point deficit to take a 97-78 win over Australia in the semi-finals of the 2021 Olympics in Saitama, Japan. The victory on Thursday gave the Americans an opportunity to win another gold medal when they play in the finals of the basketball tournament in the Olympics.
Australia led by 15 points, 41-26 with 5:23 to go in the quarter on an alley-oop dunk by Jock Landale, forcing USA coach Gregg Popovich to call a timeout. Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Jrue Holiday led a comeback by Team USA, pulling them to within three points, 45-42, at halftime.
In the second half, Australia succumbed to Team USA’s relentless defensive pressure and crisp, offensive execution as Durant and co. came away with a huge win.
Here are 5 takeaways from Team USA’s lopsided victory over Team Australia:
#1 Kevin Durant put Team USA on his shoulders
In the first half, when no one from Team USA could score, it was Kevin Durant who kept them in the game. The former NBA MVP was unstoppable, draining one mid-range jumper after another while playing hard-nosed defense.
Durant scored 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting to go along with a team-high nine rebounds, two steals and a block. During a third-quarter stretch of nearly three minutes midway through the period, Durant scored or assisted on five possessions. His efforts gave the USA a 59-50 lead, which they would extend to 74-55 by the end of the quarter.
#2 Devin Booker and Jrue Holiday complemented Kevin Durant
As Durant was on a hot streak, Devin Booker caught the bug as well, scoring 20 points on a sizzling 7-of-10 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. The shooting guard found his groove in the third quarter, scoring 11 points and led Team USA to a 19-point lead over Australia heading into the fourth quarter.
From offense to defense, Jrue Holiday was a force for the USA, putting together a solid performance with 11 points, eight rebounds, eight assists, two steals and a block. He was the catalyst for his side from the second to third quarters, scoring timely baskets and distributing the ball with precision.