Team USA men’s basketball advances to semifinals after defeating Spain

On Tuesday, Team USA’s Kevin Durant and Spain’s Ricky Rubio went toe-to-toe, but Durant and Team USA got the victory 95-81 to advance to the Olympic semifinals.

Durant scored 13 of his 29 points in the third quarter, while Rubio scored 38 points. However, Jayson Tatum had 10 of his 13 points in the fourth quarter to help put Spain away. Jrue Holiday added 12 points, Damian Lillard 11, and Zach LaVine 10 points.

Sergio Rodriguez added 16 points, and Willy Hernangomez 10 points and 10 rebounds for Spain. The Americans improved to 13-0 versus Spain in Olympic action.

“The game is about buckets,” Durant said. “When you see the ball go in the rim, everybody’s got more energy — coaches, players, trainers, everybody. We started making shots, made some 3s, and guys calmed down and made some stops.”

The game was knotted at 43 at halftime, but Team USA started the third quarter on fire and locked down Spain on defense. They hit five 3-pointers and Spain did not make a field goal for almost six minutes to begin the second half. 

Team USA seems to be coming together at the right time. After losing three out of their first five games(including exhibition games), they have won three straight.

“I think the potential of this team is endless,” Draymond Green said. “Unfortunately, we (only) got two games left. So, we need to make sure that we’re continuing to get better each and every time we step on the floor, and I think that’s why we’ve done it.”

The U.S. will face Australia in Thursday’s semifinals. Team USA lost to Australia in an exhibition game in July, but they have an opportunity to get revenge at the Olympics. 

Photo: Ned Dishman/NBAE/Getty Images)
 

Team USA Men’s basketball to battle Spain in medal round quarterfinals

With preliminary round play completed, FIBA (International Basketball Federation) conducted the draw for the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball medal round quarterfinals Sunday night, and the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team (2-1) will face Spain (2-1)  on Tuesday, Aug. 3 at 12:40 a.m. EDT.

Other August 3 quarterfinals pairings unveiled Sunday included Group B first-place finisher Australia (3-0) versus Group C third-place finisher Argentina (1-2) at 8:00 a.m. EDT; Group A first-place finisher France (3-0) versus Group B second-place finisher Italy (2-1) at 4:20 a.m. EDT; and Group C first-place finisher Slovenia (3-0) versus Group B third-place finisher Germany (1-2) at 9:00 p.m. EDT on Aug. 2.

Winners of the USA/Spain and Australia/Argentina quarterfinal games will meet in one semifinal on Aug. 5, while the winners of the France/Italy and Slovenia/Germany quarterfinal games will face off in the other semifinal. Semifinal winners will advance to the Aug. 7 gold medal game (10:30 p.m. EDT on Aug. 6), while semifinal losing teams will advance to the bronze medal game (7:00 a.m. EDT).

Four teams were eliminated from the medal round, including Pool A third-place finisher Czech Republic (1-2), Pool A fourth-place finisher Iran (0-3), Pool C fourth-place finisher Japan (0-3) and Pool B fourth-place finisher Nigeria (0-3).

The American men concluded Olympic Pool A preliminary round play with a 2-1 record, losing  their opening game to France 83-76 and recording victories over Iran 120-66 and Czech Republic 119-84.

The USA’s quarterfinal opponent, Spain, defeated Japan 88-77 and Argentina 81-71, and lost to Slovenia 95-87 in Group C preliminary play.

The XXXII Olympic Games men’s basketball competition is being held July 23-Aug. 7 at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

The 2020 Tokyo Olympic men’s basketball tournament features a different format than in past Games.

The 12 competing men’s teams were drawn into three groups of four teams apiece for preliminary play that was contested July 27-Aug. 3. Following completion of the preliminary round, the top two finishing teams from each pool and the two best third-place teams, according to FIBA’s placement rules, qualified for the medal round and were re-seeded.

The U.S. men have won the gold medal in the last three Olympics and have medaled in all 18 Olympics in which they have competed, including 15 gold medals, one silver and two bronze medals. The Americans currently own an impressive 140-6 all-time record (.956 winning percentage) in Olympic action. Since NBA players began representing the United States in 1992, the USA is 53-3 in the previous seven Olympics, capturing six gold medals and one bronze medal.

Photo: Team USA

Keldon Johnson on role with Team USA: ‘I’m here to be the energy guy’

USA Basketball Men’s National Team got off to a rocky start during their series of exhibitions games in Las Vegas. Team USA lost their first two games to Nigeria and Australia but won its final two, including defeating a very good Spain team 83-76 on Sunday night.

Keldon Johnson, who was recently added to Team USA, was huge in this contest. The Spurs forward scored 10 of his 15 points in the third quarter, and Team USA, who trailed throughout the game until an 11-0 run helped the team take complete control in the third quarter.

“Just being active, being a spark,” said Johnson of his performance. “I’m here to be the energy guy and bring life to the team whenever we need it. In the third quarter when I came in, we needed a spark.”

Team USA and Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich added: “Keldon Johnson just played a really He shot if he was open, he made cuts to the bucket. When he did go to the bucket, he was very physical. And he was solid in the half-court defense. So, he had a very, very good night.”

Damian Lillard scored 19 points, Johnson had 15, Kevin Durant added 14, and Zach LaVine tallied 13 points for the USA, which heads to Tokyo on Monday and will face France in its Olympic opener on July 25. The Americans have won the past three Olympic gold medals. Ricky Rubio led Spain with 23 points.

According to Popovich, after a slow start, Team USA is starting to come together.

“We just had our sixth practice the other day,” Popovich said. “And after these exhibition games, that’s what we look for — getting better at both ends of the court, learning how to play with each other, because these guys have never played together before. And I think we’re on the right track in that regard, so that’s what I feel good about.”

Team USA has played better in the last two games, and if they come together, talent-wise, there’s no better.

Photo: Team USA