SAITAMA, Aug. 3 (Reuters) – Kevin Durant scored 29 points to lead the United States to a decisive 95-81 victory over Spain in men’s Olympic basketball on Tuesday, winning a ticket to the semi-finals. finals.
The last four are now defined. The United States will face Australia on Thursday. France, the team that humiliated the United States team earlier in the tournament, will face Slovenia, making an impressive Olympic debut.
The United States took the win despite a valiant 38-point effort from Spaniard Ricky Rubio. Spain had a 10-point lead at the end of the second quarter, when the Americans came back strong.
“We drove him to the edge at the end of the second and were able to pick up our pace a bit,” said the Brooklyn Nets star Durant. “I like the way we played from the end of the second quarter until the end of the game, and that’s how the winners play ball. “
The stands at Saitama Super Arena north of Tokyo were the busiest they have been so far in these spectator-free Games, as athletes, officials and volunteers gathered for what would have been a match. to success.
The American team looked strong at these Games after the French inflicted their first Olympic loss since 2004. The Americans have always been the team to beat, with 15 gold medals in men’s basketball since 1936.
“We have to finish it,” said Durant, who is competing in his third Olympics. “You know, we’re supposed to be here. For us, it’s about getting the gold.
Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic scored 20 points and distributed 11 assists to lead Slovenia to a 94-70 loss to Germany. Doncic led all players in the tournament in scoring and is second in rebounds only behind teammate Mike Tobey.
For a nation of just two million people, Slovenia fielded a powerful team on their Olympic debut.
While Doncic is the core of their offense, he is surrounded by teammates who score reliably in the double digits, like Zoran Dragic who scored 36 against Germany.
“They obviously have one of the best players in the world, but he’s not alone,” German head coach Henrik Roedl said of Doncic and the Slovenian squad.
Frenchman Rudy Gobert executed a pirouette dunk in the dying seconds against Italy, an exclamation mark in his side’s 84-75 victory. Italy fought to tie the game late in the fourth quarter, but France’s larger size and rebounds kept them in control.
“We failed but not that far,” said Italian Nicolo Melli. “We have shown once again that we have the character to come back and play until the last second. “
Australia beat Argentina 97-59 to make it up in the fourth quarter.
With 51 seconds left, Argentina’s Luis Scola, 41, left the field in his fifth and possibly final Olympics, those in the stands and both teams sent him back with a long standing ovation.
Reportage de Rocky Swift; Montage par Karishma Singh et Bill Berkrot
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