USA Basketball Blows Out Czech Republic, Advances to Olympic Quarterfinals
The United States has won two in a row after a loss to France and is now onto the medal rounds.
The United States has bounced back from an opening loss to France to advance to the quarterfinals of men's basketball event in the Olympics. With a 119-84 win over the Czech Republic, Team USA has advanced to the medal rounds. Who the Americans will face in the quarterfinals is to be determined.
During the game, Kevin Durant surpassed Carmelo Anthony for most points scored and field goals made in United States Olympics history. He lead Team USA with 23 points, nine rebounds and six assists on 8-11 shooting. Jayson Tatum scored 27 points off the bench (21 in the second half), while Devin Booker added 11 and Zach LaVine contributed 13. Tatum was 10-15 from the floor and 5-9 from beyond the arc.
Former Syracuse forward Jerami Grant played only the final four minutes of the game. He recorded two rebounds, one assist and one steal in the game.
The Czech Republic jumped out to a double digit lead in the first quarter, but the United States dominated from there. LaVine hit a pair of threes and the defense enhanced its intensity to force turnovers as the US made a run to trim the deficit in the first quarter. Still, the United States trailed 25-18 after the first quarter.
The second quarter was where the US took control. Draymond Green hit a pair of shots, including a three pointer, to help cut into the lead. Then, Kevin Durant hit back to back threes to not only pass Anthony, but give the US a lead it would never relinquish. The Czech Republic shot over 60% in the first quarter, but the US was much better defensively in the second and took a 47-43 advantage into halftime.
In the second half, the outcome was never in doubt and the American cruised to its second straight victory. USA used a 16-2 run to take an 82-60 lead into the final frame after outscoring the Czech Republic 35-17 in the third quarter.
When France won the opening game, there were many concerned about USA basketball and its Olympic destiny. With two dominant wins, the United States has made a statement that talk of its demise was premature. The US dominated Iran 120-66 and followed that up with Saturday's win over the Czech Republic.