Publish date:

Team USA Overcomes Sluggish Start, Beats Australia to Advance to Gold Medal Game


For much of the first half, it looked like the U.S. men's basketball team was in serious danger of not advancing to the gold medal game for the first time since 2004. The offense look disjointed, the Australians played with purpose and energy and the Americans did not hit their first three-pointer until late in the second quarter.

The U.S. cut a double-digit deficit to just three points at halftime. From that point on, the switch had been flipped, and Team USA outscored Australia 32–10 in the third quarter to turn an upset alert into a blowout 97–78 win to advance to the final.

Kevin Durant led the U.S. with 23 points and nine rebounds on 10-for-19 shooting from the field. Devin Booker added 20 points on 7-for-10 shooting, while Jrue Holiday had 11 points and eight assists.

Team USA missed its first 10 three-point attempts of the game and made just two before halftime. Australia led, 45–34, with just under three minutes left in the first half before the U.S. ended the second quarter on an 8–0 run.

SI Recommends

That run eventually ballooned to 40–10 by the end of the third quarter. Team USA disrupted Australia's offensive attack by disrupting shots at the rim and getting in between passing lanes. The U.S. also held a 44–29 advantage on the boards, including a 14–9 edge in offensive rebounds.

Patty Mills scored a team-high 15 points with eight assists for Australia, while Dante Exum had 14 points off the bench. Jock Landale had 11 points and six rebounds.

The U.S. advances to the gold medal game in search of its fourth consecutive gold medal. Team USA will face the winner of Slovenia and France.

Sign up for our free daily Olympics newsletter: Very Olympic Today. You'll catch up on the top stories, smaller events, things you may have missed while you were sleeping and links to the best writing from SI’s reporters on the ground in Tokyo.

More Olympics Coverage: