The U.S. misplaced its first two exhibition video games of the summer season in Las Vegas, dropped its opening recreation at those Olympics and had a troublesome time shaking freed from the Czech Republic of their group-play finale.
None of that issues now.
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The American citizens are headed to the quarterfinals on the Tokyo Video games — with a shot of being excellent as gold as soon as once more. Jayson Tatum scored 27 issues, Kevin Durant added 23 and set a couple of USA Basketball males’s Olympic information, and the U.S. defeated the Czechs 119-84 on Saturday to clinch a berth within the knockout level.
“I believe our guys in reality centered smartly and did a excellent task in gaining flooring, daily, follow by means of follow,” U.S. trainer Gregg Popovich stated. “Confidently we’ll proceed that transferring ahead. We need to if we need to achieve success.”
Zach LaVine scored 13 issues, Jrue Vacation had 11 and JaVale McGee completed with 10 issues for the U.S. The American citizens shot 7 for 20 within the first quarter — then made 33 of 44 photographs over the following 26 mins, together with a staggering 21-for-25 begin to the second one part.
“It’s amusing to observe,” Vacation stated, “and amusing to be a part of.”
The U.S. (2-1) completed 2d at the back of France in Team A, however will sign up for the French, Australia and the winner of Sunday’s recreation between Slovenia and Spain as a top-four seed for Tuesday’s quarterfinals in keeping with FIBA’s tiebreaker device that comes with level differential.
The ones quarterfinal matchups can be made up our minds in a draw on Sunday evening, however the U.S. has now confident itself of no longer having to stand any of the 3 organization winners till no less than the semifinals.
Blake Schilb scored 17 for the Czech Republic (1-2), which led by means of 10 early and used to be nonetheless inside of 60-54 halfway during the 1/3 quarter.
In a flash, the Czech hope of a stunner ended there.
“I believe the primary part, we performed superb. … 2d part, we ran out of gasoline,” Czech Republic trainer Ronen Ginzburg stated.
Durant — who handed Carmelo Anthony as each the U.S. Olympic males’s all-time issues and all-time box objectives chief throughout the sport — hit a 3-pointer to finish the 1/3 quarter, capping a 22-6 run that put the American citizens up by means of 22 going into the overall quarter.
The result used to be no longer doubtful once more, and Durant stated the scoring document used to be “particular” to him on an evening the place the American citizens engineered a 48-point turnaround from being down 10 to main by means of as many as 38.
“You simply consider the entire gamers that performed on this program,” Durant stated. “Beautiful cool to be among names like that. Carmelo is a man that I performed on two Olympic groups with, I’ve noticed his solution to those video games and I’ve attempted to thieve a few of his tactics.”
Ondrej Balvin scored 15, Jan Vesely had 13 and Tomas Satoransky added 12 issues for the Czechs, who have been eradicated. The U.S., France, Australia, Spain, Slovenia, Germany, Italy and the winner of Sunday’s recreation between Argentina and host Japan can be taking part in on Tuesday, their medal hopes nonetheless intact.
As soon as within the quarters, it’s win-or-else time. And the quarterfinals have been the spherical the place all of it went awry for the U.S. on the remaining primary global pageant, the Basketball Global Cup in China two years in the past. The American citizens misplaced to France, finishing all hope of a medal and sooner or later completed 7th.
Right here, it’s all in regards to the medal — this is, one medal, and one medal best.
“We don’t plan on getting bronze or silver,” U.S. reserve Keldon Johnson stated.
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This U.S. crew — which misplaced to France to open the Olympics prior to posting a 54-point win over Iran and a 35-point win on Saturday — hasn’t regarded just like that Global Cup crew did two years in the past, although it wanted a while to search out its highest stride towards the Czechs.
The Czechs led by means of as many as 10 within the first quarter, capturing 65% to the American citizens’ 35% within the opening 10 mins. With a roster that includes only one present NBA participant — Satoransky — they didn’t glance in the slightest degree intimidated by means of the U.S.
“Congratulations to the United States,” stated Satoransky, who printed he’s been taking part in within the Olympics with a groin damage that he stated will want time to heal. “Sadly, we couldn’t proceed with the similar form of basketball after the primary part. … Clearly, they’re the most productive crew on the planet.”
Durant gave the U.S. its first lead halfway thru the second one quarter, a 3-pointer hanging the American citizens up 34-33. The lead sooner or later were given to up to seven, prior to the U.S. settled for a 47-43 edge at halftime.
And that left some within the crowd — loads of other folks have been within the decrease bowl of the sector, even supposing no tickets have been being offered — greater than just a little worried. Amongst them: Contributors of the German crew; their hopes of qualifying as one of the vital peak third-place groups hinged at the consequence of this recreation.
Through the beginning of the fourth, the Germans may calm down. So may the American citizens, who’re “extraordinarily” assured heading into the quarterfinals, McGee stated. After a while in combination, some adversity in combination, the arena’s No. 1-ranked crew seems like the only to catch another time.
“Dropping without a doubt is helping you develop,” Vacation stated.