The USA men’s basketball team won Gold against Serbia, 96-66 at the 2016 Rio Olympics. Heading into the Olympics, many expected the U.S. to run away with the competition. While going 8-0 in route to a Gold medal could be considered as such, the level of competition they faced throughout the tournament caused some doubt about whether they could pull it off. After their first two blowouts of China and Venezuela, team USA struggled to put away every other opponent they faced.
However, the United States has the most talented basketball players in the world, so they only needed to dig deep to overcome their opponents challenges. For anyone thought the Americans would be tested in the Gold medal game given how close their last matchup was with Serbia, let me remind you the U.S. has a man named Kevin Durant on their team. Considering Durant and the rest of the team was held in check by Serbia in their first meeting, team USA was not going to let Serbia get the better of them in the final.
Durant continued to play like the best player in the tournament going off for 24 points in the first half alone compared to Serbia’s 29 as a team. He led the U.S. to a 52-29 halftime lead that Serbia never recovered from. Durant finished the game with 30 points and was 5-for-11 on threes.
Despite blowing out Serbia by more than 40 points at times, team USA continued to enforce their dominance on the boards and on defense protecting the rim. With the game decided early, players like Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes who fell out of the rotation early in the tournament got to join in on the onslaught by playing much of the fourth quarter.
The victory was especially triumphant for Carmelo Anthony, who was given a standing ovation when he exited the game as team USA’s most decorated player. He is now a three-time Olympic Gold medal winner and team USA’s all-time leader in games played, points scored and rebounds. Anthony embraced his role as the leader of an inexperienced USA team and helped guide them to their third-straight Gold. The USA men’s basketball team has now won six Gold medals in the last seven Olympics.