Kevin Durant celebrates Team USA's victory in the men's final basketball match during the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 on Aug. 7, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.
TOKYO – The U.S. men’s basketball team are golden again.
Despite a rocky start to their bid for Olympic gold, the U.S. battled back to beat France 87-82 in the finals to claim their fourth-straight Olympic gold.
In the Olympic opener, the U.S. men fell to France 83-76. NBA stars Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert of France made an inspiring comeback late in the game to top Team USA.
“A lot of people back home doubted us,” said veteran forward Kevin Durant. “A lot of people said it was going to be tough for us to win…but we came together and finished it off.”
Following their loss to France, the U.S. won four straight games against Iran (120-66), Czech Republic (119-84), Spain (95-81) and Australia (97-78) to earn themselves a spot in the gold medal game.
“When you’re a part of a team that’s evolving by the second, it’s just amazing to see,” said Durant. “So, each game we continued to grow, the coaches started to have more confidence in us, the players started to have more confidence in their roles – it’s just that journey that was so important.”
And today, the U.S was out for revenge.
“This one feels good because we went through a lot. We had a lot of first-time guys on the team. [It was a] new experience for everyone on the team - COVID, the kind of bubble we were in, no fans, no one expecting us to lose.”
In the battle for gold, Team USA faced an undefeated French team.
The game got off to a slow start for Team USA, who found themselves in early shooting trouble. Team USA battled back to take a four-point lead, 22-18, over rival France to end the first quarter and then continued to lead 44-39 at halftime.