Team USA Finally Plays Up To Potential, Smokes Serbia For Men's Basketball Gold Medal

USA's guard Kevin Durant dunks during a Men's Gold medal basketball match between Serbia and USA at the Carioca Arena 1 in Rio de Janeiro on August 21, 2016 during the Rio 2016 Olympic Games. / AFP / EMMANUEL DUNAND        (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images)

Team USA Finally Plays Up To Potential, Smokes Serbia For Men's Basketball Gold Medal

Olympics

Team USA Finally Plays Up To Potential, Smokes Serbia For Men's Basketball Gold Medal

Team USA finally put it all together on Sunday and looked like the team we expected to see during the 2016 Olympics. The Americans absolutely hammered Serbia in the gold medal game, winning by a ridiculous final margin of 96-66. By the middle of the third quarter the game had devolved into garbage time, with the U.S. hunting for dunks and highlight-reel plays.

After a rough stretch in pool play, the Americans finally showed what they could do on both ends of the floor. They locked down Serbia defensively but also finally moved the ball on offense and found open and easy buckets with regularity.

Kevin Durant led the way for the U.S., he scored 30 points, with 24 coming in the first half. He hit 10-of-19 shots from the field and threw together a ton of highlights in the first half.

From the middle of the first quarter on, the U.S. ran away from Serbia. The Americans won the rebounding battle 54-34, had 23 assists on 34 made field goals and held Serbia to 37.7 percent shooting from the field and 16.7 percent from 3-point range. It got so out of hand that Harrison Barnes actually saw the floor and scored a basket! In fact, everyone on the roster scored, with only Durant, DeMarcus Cousins (13) and Klay Thompson (12) getting into double figures.

It was a stunning display by Team USA, especially after the squad struggled mightily against Serbia in pool play, winning 94-91. The difference for the Americans was their togetherness. For the first time they looked completely connected and locked in as a team. They made the extra pass, helped each other on defense and communicated constantly.

With the victory, Carmelo Anthony won his record third gold medal (he also has a bronze from the forgettable 2004 Olympics). He is now America’s all-time leader in points, games and rebounds. Mike Krzyzewski also earned his third Olympic title in his final tour with the team. Gregg Popovich will take over Team USA moving forward.

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