Team USA, behind the great play of Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, beat Team Australia 97-78 late on Wednesday night to advance to the Gold Medal game at the Tokyo Olympics.
Booker, the Phoenix Suns guard who is playing for the first time for Team USA, scored 20 points on 7-10 shooting, including 3-5 on threes.
Kevin Durant had 23 points and 9 rebounds while Jrue Holiday (11 points, 8 rebounds, 8 assists) and Khris Middleton each had 11 in what turned out to be an easy win. New Suns teammate JaVale McGee had
The US lead got as high as 24 points before Australia pulled their veterans to rest them for the Bronze game.
Just like the prior game versus Spain, Team USA got down big in the first half due to cold shooting — this time by 15 points to Australia — before coming back to take the lead for good in the third quarter.
And once again, it was Kevin Durant on offense while Devin Booker did lots of non-scoring things that don’t make the stat sheet like moving the ball on offense and playing ball-denial defense against point guard Patty Mills on defense. The US went on a 28-4 run to take a 54-45 lead before Australia knew what hit them.
Then Book went off. He scored 12 points in the last few minutes of the third quarter — three threes and and old-fashioned three-point-play — to help Team USA take a 19-point lead into the 4th quarter.
Before the teams rested their starters for mop-up time, Team USA went on a 48-14 run after getting down by 15.
“Guarding,” Booker said after the game. “That’s what it comes down to. Our offense is gonna come, we have a lot of talented guys out here, but we have to be on the same page on defense.”
Team USA will now play in the Gold Medal game against the winner of the France vs. Slovenia game later tonight.
“It’s all or nothing,” Booker said of the Gold Medal game. “This is what we came to get.”
Kevin Durant is playing for his third Olympic gold medal, but 10 of the players on Team USA are in their first Olympic games like Booker. Asked what he thinks of making it to a Gold Medal game, Book said “it’s a dream come true.”
Australia goes to the Bronze medal game against the France/Slovenia loser.