Kevin Durant shoots Team USA to men's basketball gold

SAITAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Kevin Durant #7 of Team United States goes up for a dunk against Rudy Gobert #27 of Team France during the second half of a Men's Basketball Finals game on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 07, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
SAITAMA, JAPAN - AUGUST 07: Kevin Durant #7 of Team United States goes up for a dunk against Rudy Gobert #27 of Team France during the second half of a Men's Basketball Finals game on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 07, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

Kevin Durant top scores for Team USA as they win fourth Olympic basketball gold in a row; France get silver

The United States held off France 87-82 to claim its fourth straight Olympic men's basketball crown at the Olympic Games Tokyo 2020.

The win gives the USA team a dream ending to the tournament that began with a loss to their opponents in the final at the Saitama Super Arena.

The game marks only the second time that the USA have had a rematch against a team that defeated them earlier in the Olympics tournament.

The other time was in 2004, when the US lost to Lithuania in group stage before winning the rematch in the bronze-medal game.

Having won Olympic gold in Beijing, London and Rio, the Americans’ win in Tokyo gives them their second longest run of consecutive basketball titles. Their greatest run was seven consecutive golds in the first seven tournaments from 1936 to 1968.

Kevin Durant, who scored 29 points, joins Carmelo Anthony as the other three-time men’s gold medallists in Olympic history.

"This one feels good because we went through a lot," said Durant on winning his third Olympic gold.

"We had a lot of first-time guys on the team, new experience for everyone on the team, Covid, the kind of bubble we were in, no fans, no one expecting us to lose.

"I love our country and this team is just amazing, it’s just incredible," he added.

"How we came together. The adversity that we went through, so many people doubting us early on too. We get that support from our families, our friends, you know it’s bigger than us. We wanted to come here finish it and look alive." 

Jayson Tatum added 19 points, Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday each scored 11 for the US.

Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert each scored 16 for France, which now has three silver medals - all coming after gold-medal game losses to the USA.

The previous losses were at the Olympic Games in London in 1948 and Sydney in 2000.

"Of course, we knew before the match that it's something that we haven't done for 21 years, so we knew it wasn't a small thing," said Moustapha Fall on taking the silver medal back to France.

"It's hard to get to this point. We've succeeded and that's very good, but I think we're at the point now to go right to the end.

"We really wanted to do something which has never been done - to take home the gold. We fell a bit short. That's sport."

"We knew he [Team USA's Kevin Durant] sometimes starts the match badly, but he didn't start badly, he started really, really strong and scored half the points from the start. So it was really complicated.

"He's a great player, everyone knows it."

Frank Ntilikina’s three-pointer got France within 73-70 with 5:42 left, but the US had a quick answer - a 9-2 run that restored a 10-point lead on Tatum’s three-pointer.

From there, it was just a matter of Team USA finishing the job.

The dream was accomplished for Team USA: gold – for the 16th time in 19 Olympic tournaments.

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