For all the unconvincing showings that have been spoken about the USA at the Rio basketball tournament, they saved their best game for last.
The United States of America claimed their third straight Olympic gold medal by emphatically beating Serbia 96-66 in Rio on Sunday, bringing coach Mike Krzyzewski’s reign to an end.
It felt like deja vu from the 2014 FIBA World Cup final all over again as the Americans, who started slowly but still led 19-15 after the first quarter accelerated away in the second with Kevin Durant’s 18 points outscoring the entire Serbian team by four, as the strong nation that had given the U.S. a game in the group stages faded away easily when it mattered.
Durant finished with 30 points to lead the United States. In his two Olympic appearances, the new Golden State Warriors acquisition has hit 30-point games in both gold medal encounters.
And watching somewhere in Oakland, reigning NBA MVP Stephen Curry, who decided to skip the Olympics was smiling from ear-to-ear, witnessing his new team-mate shoot the lights out.
DeMarcus Cousins posted a solid double-double of 13 points and 15 rebounds and Carmelo Anthony amassed seven points as he decided to call it a day on the international stage.
“This is it for me,” Anthony said, fighting back tears after the end of the game, “I know this is the end.”
Despite Durant’s heroics, especially in the second period, many were hoping for a Serbian comeback in the third quarter, it unfortunately became a case of how much the USA would win by as they motored along nicely, while Serbia continued to struggle.
By then, the last gold medal up for grabs at the Rio Olympics was already settled.
Nemanja Nedovic led Serbia with 14 points.