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Dublin: 10 °C Friday 18 October, 2019

USA storm to third consecutive basketball Gold as Rio 2016 comes to a close

There was no stopping the United States in the men’s basketball final at Rio 2016, as Serbia suffered a thumping defeat.

Kevin Durant celebrates scoring for Team USA
Kevin Durant celebrates scoring for Team USA

THE UNITED STATES predictably claimed the final gold medal of Rio 2016, cruising to a third successive Olympic men’s basketball title with a 96-66 thrashing of Serbia at Carioca Arena 1.

Serbia had run the USA close during the preliminary round, going down 94-91 to the heavy pre-tournament favourites.

However, it was a different story in Sunday’s final as 30 points from Kevin Durant helped secure the most emphatic of American victories in Mike Krzyzewski’s final game as head coach.

The gold medal was effectively secured by half-time, when the USA held a 52-29 lead courtesy of a dominant second quarter, and the defending champions could afford the luxury of taking their foot off the gas in the closing stages.

Serbia’s competitiveness in the opening quarter, which they ended trailing by just four, offered little clue of what was to follow.

Durant soon took centre stage, putting up an eight-point individual run as the US stormed into a healthy lead.

Carmelo Anthony scored seven points and added seven rebounds en route to his third gold medal, the most in Olympic basketball history.

The USA has now won 15 of the 19 gold medals given out for men’s basketball, and improved to 6-1 since it began using professional players in 1992.

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