After several close games along the way, the U.S. men’s basketball team was all business on Sunday as they routed Serbia, 96-66, in the gold medal game that brought down the curtain on the competition in the Rio games.
Kevin Durant led the way, hitting three-point bombs, driving for dunks, handing out assists and making steals on defense. After a close first quarter, which ended with the U.S. up 19-15, the Americans blew the game open in the second frame.
Durant had 24 points by the half and the U.S. had a 23-point lead, 52-29.
The Americans extended their lead in the third quarter and were up by as many as 41 in the fourth.
Durant finished with 30 and DeMarcus Cousins added 13 in a balanced U.S. attack.
This was a radically different game from the earlier U.S.-Serbia encounter in group play, where the Serbs missed a three pointer at the buzzer that would have sent the game into overtime. Instead, they lost 94-91.
The Americans also had tough, close games against Australia, Spain and France, and often looked vulnerable, particularly on defense.
This was the third straight Olympic gold for the American men, with all three teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski. The Duke coach was brought in to provide continuity after the 2004 Athens games, where the Americans lost to Argentina in the semifinal round and had to settle for a bronze.
Carmelo Anthony, who was on that 2004 team and the three squads since, became the first male basketball player to win three gold medals at the Olympics.