Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

A splendid performance by Kevin Durant (23 points) was more than enough for Team USA (2-1) to down the Czech Republic (1-2) by 119-84 (18-25, 29-18, 35-17, 37-24) and seal the ticket to the quarter-final phase of the Olympic basketball tournament.

Player of the Game
Kevin  Durant
EFF
30
Kevin Durant
Points 23
Accuracy 8-11
Rebounds 8
Assists 6

With France already confirmed at the top of Group A, the Americans seized the second spot and a guaranteed berth in the quarter-finals. On the other side of the fence, the Czechs were completely blown out in the second half when Durant exploded, and Ronen Ginzburg's team could do nothing about it. Second-chance points were 25-8 for the winners, who made 20 three-point shots (20/48) and missed only 6 two-point attempts (25-31)!

The USA advanced as the best second-placed team, therefore avoiding a matchup against the winners from other groups in the Quarter-Finals. The Czech Republic (-49) could be in the hunt for a second third-placed team spot, but their blowout defeat doesn't allow for much optimism. Germany are in, because of their 1-2 record and -16 point differential, and the winner of the Argentina - Japan duel will also advance because both teams are already under -49.

The Czechs started really well, getting the most out of their quick pace. Gregg Popovich called a timeout less than two minutes into the game, but not much changed for his team. 37-year-old Blake Schilb scored 8 points in a row to make it 6-17 for the Eastern Europeans, who had an excellent offensive flow. Balvin and Vesely took advantage of the week American frontline, consisting of Durant and Draymond Green. Two daggers by Zach LaVine and another one by Dame Lillard cut down the deficit to 3 (18-21).

However, Ginzburg's boys quickly found their grip, responding to their rivals in the form of a 0-4 run at the end of the first quarter (18-25). The USA were 7 for 20 from the field, while the Czech Republic made 11 of their 17 attempts, and if it weren't for their 5 turnovers, they could have built a bigger lead.

The roles were reversed in the second quarter, especially when Durant lit on fire, scoring 8 consecutive points to complete a 10-0 run for Team USA (39-33).

KD thus became the all-time leading Olympic scorer in Team USA history, passing Carmelo Anthony.

Referees proved to be extremely permissive to the US team's tantrums and violations (a Zach LaVine protest went without a technical and Adebayo's traveling was not called) throughout the first half. A long-distance 3-pointer by Schilb made it 47-43 for the US squad at half-time, but it was obvious that the Americans had found their rhythm on offense and were getting stops on the defensive end.

The Czech "twin towers" proved to be a constant headache for Popovich. Nevertheless, Bohacik rarely shot on target and Satoransky couldn't create some space or plays for his teammates. The US team got the best out of their open looks, in contrast to what they had done in the first quarter. Draymond Green was instrumental in his team's double-digit lead (73-58), with Durant providing the necessary flashes of genius with long-distance passes, blocks, and one-on-one plays when needed. The Czechs lost sight of the scoreboard and couldn't keep up with their rivals. As time was ticking out, the European side lost faith and was reduced to a secondary role, watching the galloping NBA players run up and down the court.

The US lead climbed to 30 points (94-64) six minutes before the end. That's when JaVale McGee entered the court to steal the show with 10 points in 4 minutes.

Team USA: Tatum 27 (10/16 from the field), Durant 23 (8/11 from the field, 8 rebounds, 6 assists), LaVine 13 (5 assists), Holiday 11, McGee 10, Middleton 8, Lillard 8, Green 8, Adebayo 6, Booker 5.

Czech Republic: Schilb 17 (5/6 3-pointers), Balvin 15, Vesely 13 (4 assists), Satoransky 12 (6 rebounds, 8 assists), Jelinek 7, Palyza 7, Auda 6, Sehnal 5, Bohacik 2.

 

Show comments
Thank you for reporting a comment

Add comment
Nickname:      
  Symbols left:     Total comments: 0

We have the right to remove comments which are offensive, contains abusive language, or violates other rules of the website
JAV rinktinė
Čekijos rinktinė
63%
45/72
Field goals
50%
34/68
34
Rebounds
27
24
Assists
17
8
Steals
6
81%
25/31
2-pointers
52%
26/50
75%
9/12
Free throws
62%
8/13

Best players

Jayson  Tatum
27 PTS
10/16 FG
2/3 FT
Blake  Schilb
17 PTS
6/9 FG
0/0 FT
Kevin  Durant
8 REB
8 DREB
0 OREB
Tomas  Satoransky
6 REB
6 DREB
0 OREB
Kevin  Durant
6 As
2 TO
28 MIN
Tomas  Satoransky
8 As
2 TO
33 MIN
Kevin  Durant
30 EFF
100% 2P%
57% 3P%
Blake  Schilb
17 EFF
33% 2P%
83% 3P%