The USA have again cemented their world dominance in basketball after making it four Olympic gold medals in a row following their win over France in the final.
Durant led the way offensively for Team USA, who in these Games surpassed Carmelo Anthony as the United States’ highest career scorer, with 29 points in the 87-82 victory at the Saitama Super Arena.
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The championship attracted the biggest crowd yet to the arena north of Tokyo in these Games, with the bottom bowl of seats about half full of athletes, officials, media and volunteers in place of fans due to Covid-19 restrictions.
It marked the fourth Olympics in a row Team USA have picked up gold and it was their 16th gold for the country in the sport.
France earned their third Olympic silver medal in men’s basketball.
Slovenia, making their debut at the Games, will play Australia in the bronze medal match later on Saturday.
Fans react to USA's Olympics dominance
While the USA appeared to be cruising in the final, France made it tense after pulling the margin back to five points with a few seconds remaining.
Fans couldn't believe the 'crazy' ending, which was the second closest scoreline in a men's basketball final ever at the Olympics.
France's Rudy Gobert appeared devastated after the final buzzer, while the star-studded USA outfit celebrated the achievement.
🥇 FOURTH CONSECUTIVE GOLD🥇
Team USA beats France, 87-82!
KD: 29 PTS | 6 REB
Tatum: 19 PTS | 7 REB pic.twitter.com/CwvdTspBFm
— Yahoo Sports (@YahooSports) August 7, 2021
Best gold medal game in a while. Nice to see France putting up a fight! But obv GO USA!
— Patrick Hughes🏐🏀⚽️🧢 (@CoachPat1984) August 7, 2021
France got some gamers. They really withstand the USA haymakers in this one.
— Ant J Pierre (@_BlackMagic_5) August 7, 2021
Team USA wins another gold medal in basketball behind the greatness of Kevin Durant. The GOAT of their country in Olympic basketball. Perfect so far in the Olympics. Gotta respect France though. They competed but missed free throws and turnovers really killed them.
— Charles Tiu (@charlestiu) August 7, 2021
Team USA wins the gold medal for the fourth time in a row. A incredible effort by France. Kevin Durant lead the way.
— Adrian Kendrick (@BigAK9) August 7, 2021
Folks gotta realize the world is catching up to USA basketball.
(France team full of NBA players too)
— Remy LeBeaux (@sHELLshoQ) August 7, 2021
USA v France… what a crazy ending
— The College Kids - Sports Betting (@TCK_Experience) August 7, 2021
Haha how is France not dead and buried yet. This USA team has punched so below their weight
— Mehul Kumar (@MehulKumarrr) August 7, 2021
Rudy Gobert was emotional after France's loss to Team USA. pic.twitter.com/gZG1hypOnZ
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) August 7, 2021
Devin Booker achieves one of his lifelong goals and wins an Olympic gold medal. Team USA beats France. Booker was terrific defensively all tournament and a huge part of the Americans' squad as a starter.
Now let's please get that man a few days off.
— Kellan Olson (@KellanOlson) August 7, 2021
The US men have historically been the team to beat, with 15 gold medals since 1936 going into these Games.
But this year's team proved to be vulnerable, dropping two-straight exhibition games in July and suffering a shock 83-76 defeat to France in the preliminary round of the Games, which was their first defeat here on the Olympic stage since 2004.
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