U.S. beats France to win men’s basketball gold

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SAITAMA, Japan — Nothing astir the summertime was casual for the U.S. men’s hoops team, and neither was the gold-medal game.

The Americans expected thing less.

And successful the end, their Olympic reign continues.

Kevin Durant scored 29 points and joined Carmelo Anthony arsenic the lone three-time men’s golden medalists successful Olympic past and the U.S. held disconnected France 87-82 connected Saturday to triumph the rubric astatine the Tokyo Games — ending a summertime that started with sputters but closed with celebration.

Durant sealed it with 2 escaped throws with 8.8 seconds left, making the result academic. The pb was five, France’s last possession was irrelevant, and it was over. The U.S. players gathered for a hug astatine midcourt, Durant, Bam Adebayo and Draymond Green wrapped themselves successful American flags, and the travel was complete.

Jayson Tatum finished with 19 points, Damian Lillard and Jrue Holiday each scored 11 for the U.S.

Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert each scored 16 for France, which present has 4 metallic medals — each coming aft gold-medal-game losses to the U.S. Guerschon Yabusele scored 13, Nando de Colo had 12 and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot scored 11 for France.

Frank Ntilikina’s 3-pointer got France wrong 73-70 with 5:42 left, but the U.S. had a speedy reply — a 9-2 tally that restored a 10-point pb connected Tatum’s 3-pointer.

From there, it was conscionable a substance of finishing the job. The summertime started with 2 accumulation losses, the Olympics started with a nonaccomplishment to France, and nary of that seemed to substance overmuch astatine the end.

The ngo was accomplished: Gold, again — the 16th clip successful 19 Olympic tries for the U.S.

For some, it adds to household legacies. Jrue Holiday present is an Olympic golden medalist, conscionable similar his woman Lauren was doubly with the U.S. women’s nationalist shot team. JaVale McGee present has Olympic gold, conscionable similar his parent Pamela won with the U.S. women successful hoops astatine the 1984 Los Angeles Games.

For Milwaukee Bucks teammates Holiday and Khris Middleton, it’s admittance into a uncommon club: Before now, lone Scottie Pippen (who did it twice), Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Kyrie Irving had won an NBA rubric and Olympic golden successful the aforesaid year.

And for U.S. manager Gregg Popovich, it completes an Olympic travel that started a half-century ago. He was playing for the United States Air Force Academy, tried unsuccessfully to marque the 1972 U.S. Olympic team— “the powers that beryllium really selected Doug Collins alternatively of me, it’s hard to believe,” Popovich joked earlier this summertime — past accepted the task of replacing Mike Krzyzewski arsenic the U.S. manager for this Olympic cycle.

“Being portion of the Olympics has been a dream,” Popovich said.

The U.S. missed its archetypal 8 3-point tries earlier Durant got 1 to driblet with 2:04 near successful the opening quarter, starting what became a 21-8 tally by the Americans connected the mode to a 39-26 pb midway done the 2nd quarter.

France responded, closing the fractional connected a 13-5 spurt and getting wrong 44-39 astatine the break, past wrong 2 aboriginal successful the 3rd quarter.

And aft the U.S. concisely led by 14, Nicolas Batum — who saved his squad with a last-second artifact to adjacent retired a triumph implicit Slovenia successful the semifinals — bushed the third-quarter buzzer with a 3-pointer that chopped the U.S. pb to 71-63 entering the fourth.

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