By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
Team USA finally had their revenge against the French national team and it couldn’t be any sweeter than in the biggest stage of the Tokyo Olympics.
Led by Kevin Durant’s spectacular outing of 29 huge points, the USA men’s basketball team clinched the gold medal after outdueling Les Bleus, 87-82, and racked up their 16th Olympic championship.
It was the ideal start head coach Gregg Popovich wanted from his team as they led in the opening 10 minutes of the game, their first time in their last three games to avoid another slow start in the gold medal match.
USA’s run-and-gun game made up for their salty shooting in the first half to negate Rudy Gobert’s presence underneath as they just pushed the pace every time they grabbed the leather.
Jayson Tatum also came up big for team USA as the young superstar of the Boston Celtics chipped in 19 points and provided the scoring punch every time Durant sat on the bench.
France tried to mount a comeback in the second frame as superb backcourt duo Evan Fournier and Nando de Colo sank their shots but USA would counter them with their own offense.
Jrue Holiday once again had an all-around performance for team USA as the newly crowned NBA champion was a defensive menace that just stung De Colo and Fournier every time they tried to score for France.