The best thing that happened to the American team this summer is Kevin Durant, who voted to play for the Tokyo Olympics. He reminded everyone why on Saturday. On the night he became the top scorer in the U.S. Olympics Team history, Durant led his U.S. team to a 119-84 victory against the Czech Republic.
This victory led the team to the quarter-finals on Tuesday. After a disappointing initial defeat against the French team, consecutive goals put them in a good position in Sunday’s draw with their next opponent. The match will be against Italy or the team that will face loss in Sunday’s match between Spain and Luka Doncic led Slovenia.
Durant scored 23 points on 8 of 11 shots, which is of course very important in the game, but his play and defense are as valuable as his 8 rebounds and 6 assists. He proved his prowess in the third quarter, scoring 10 points with four assists and changing from a tight game to a comfortable blow.
Durant defended the great Czech, blocked three-point shots from outside, and launched a counterattack with internal rebounds, playing the forward role in stages. The captain started slowly at Tokyo, he only scored 20 points in the first two games, and scored only 40%. Even in the exhibition matches in Las Vegas, Durant did not move at full speed because he admitted that it seemed convenient and only had a 43% scoring rate. Then he was fouled out in the first loss to France, which was a key factor in the American offense.
Doncic scored 48 points in his first Olympic Games, an impressive start and an excellent match with Australia’s Patty Mills. Durant stumbled out of the spotlight in the first week of the games. For Jason Tatum, it was also a good night. He played his best game of the summer with 27 points and 5 triples. Tatum suffered a minor knee injury in Las Vegas and lost his starting position. This makes him an excellent bench scorer, but he scored only 40% in the first two games.
Holiday played an excellent defense again, relentlessly pressing the ball with 3 interceptions and scoring 11 points. The leader of the Czech team was Blake Schilb, who played for the Chicago Loyola team and scored 17 points.