The United States men's basketball team's journey toward repeating as Olympic champions had an inauspicious start with a loss to France. In the end, the path ended where it so often does: at the top of the podium.
Team USA defeated France in Saturday's gold medal game, 87-82, to capture the gold medal for the fourth straight Olympics Games and 16th time overall. Like it has in every game during the knockout stage, the Americans leaned on their defense to keep the French at arm's length.
The Americans held France to 32.3% shooting on three-point attempts and, more critically, forced 18 turnovers to help outweigh their own cold shooting night. The Americans shot 28.1% from deep but were 23-for-38 (60.5%) on two-point attempts.
Once again, Kevin Durant spearheaded Team USA's offense. He scored a game-high 29 points on 9-for-18 shooting with six rebounds. Jayson Tatum had 19 points and seven boards off the bench, while Jrue Holiday had 11 points, five rebounds, three steals and a block.
The U.S. led by double digits for much of the second half, but France stayed within striking distance. The French cut the lead to three points with 10 seconds remaining, but Durant sank two free throws to seal the win and secure the gold medal.
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: