Team USA reaches quarterfinals behind Durant, Tatum

Published July 31, 2021, 10:50 PMRenee Ticzon

Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum led the way as the US men's team beat Czech Republic to advance to the quarterfinals of the Olympics men's basketball event.


USA 119, Czech Republic 84

What went down

The USA men’s basketball team pulled off another dominant win on Saturday, this time against the Czech Republic, 119-84.

Czech Republic started the game strong behind Blake Schlib who scored 11 points early. The Czechs shot 67 percent from the field, ending the first period with a 25-18 lead.

Team USA then responded with a series of baskets to open up the second quarter, quickly snatching the lead with over six minutes remaining. Czech Republic held them within a few possessions, staying close at halftime, 47-43.

After the break, the USA’s offense started to heat up. They moved the ball a lot better and hit shots from downtown possession after possession, breaking the game wide open. There was nothing Czech Republic could do to stop the onslaught as Team USA cruised to the victory. 

Kevin Durant finished with 23 points, eight rebounds, and six assists for Team USA, which now advances to the quarterfinals of the basketball event. 

The Czechs played good interior defense but were unable to limit the USA’s 3-point shooting. Team USA made 13-of-28 triples by the end of the third, while Czech only made 5-of-14.

This spelled the difference between the two teams. Czech focused on clamping down in the paint, while the Americans wanted to space the floor as far as they could. Team USA’s strategy proved to be effective as they outscored Czech Republic 35-17 in the deciding quarter.


Big-time baller

The young Jayson Tatum came up huge against the Czech Republic. He came off the bench and led the team with a game-high 27 points, including five 3s, in only his third game in the Olympics.


What he said

Everyone knows how special Kevin Durant is, but setting a new USA Basketball record had never crossed his mind.

“I never really thought about (breaking the record). There’s so many great players, and I’m just happy I’m part of something special.”

Durant already has two gold medals (2012 and 2016) and was the U.S. team’s leading scorer in the past two Olympics. In this edition of the Games, he is averaging 16.3 points and 4.3 assists so far.

What’s in a number?

Kevin Durant is now the all-time leading scorer in the United States men’s basketball Olympic history with a total of 354 points in just 19 games. He is followed by Carmelo Anthony (336), LeBron James (273 points), David Robinson (270), and Michael Jordan (256).


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