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Team USA defeats France 87-82 to win gold medal behind Kevin Durant’s 29 points

The Nets forward is making his case for the greatest men’s basketball Olympian of all time.

United States v France Men’s Basketball - Olympics: Day 15
Kevin Durant of Team United States reacts during the second half of a Men’s Basketball Finals game between Team United States and Team France on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 07, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Kevin Durant went off for 29 points and Jayson Tatum added 19 points and seven rebounds as the United States exacted revenge on France with a 87-82 victory in the gold medal match. Durant was hot from the start and didn’t take his foot off the gas, while Tatum quietly provided quality supporting scoring. Rudy Gobert finished with 16 points and eight rebounds to lead France. Evan Fournier also tallied 16 points for the silver medalists.

USA was a 13-point favorite at tip-off and there were a large majority of bettors favoring the Americans to cover the spread and win outright. USA was -900 on the moneyline when the game started. The Americans were unable to cover the spread, but did pay off for bettors who took them on the moneyline.

The Americans started off 0-8 from behind the arc before Durant canned home Team USA’s first triple. Tatum added another in the quarter. France jumped out to a 10-4 advantage, but USA overcame the poor shooting start to eventually hold a 22-18 lead at the end of the period. Durant led all scorers with 12 points.

Despite shooting well from the floor in the first half, France was careless with the basketball. The French had 10 turnovers in the first half, compared to two for the Americans. France was fouling more often early in the half, but USA got caught in poor spots defensively in the second quarter and ultimately gave those fouls back. USA led 44-39 at halftime with Durant tallying 21 points.

France had a quick spurt at the beginning of the third quarter to keep things tight, but it had no answer for Durant. The Brooklyn Nets superstar was up to 27 points by the end of the third quarter with USA holding a 71-63 advantage. France made another run early in the fourth quarter, but ultimately couldn’t string together enough good offensive possessions. The silver medalists finished with 18 turnovers. They made things close at the end, but Durant iced the game with a pair of free throws.

Durant becomes the all-time USA leader in scoring, points per game, three-pointers made and men’s basketball gold medals, establishing himself as potentially the greatest USA player ever. After reportedly inking a four-year, $198 million extension with the Nets, Durant appears set to rack up more accolades in what is a Hall of Fame career. Gregg Popovich becomes the fourth coach to win a NBA title and a gold medal, joining Chuck Daly, Lenny Wilkens and Rudy Tomjanovich.