Similar to the quarterfinal game against Spain, Team USA were under the pump in the first half but they flipped the game on its head with an extended 48-14 run through the middle two quarters.
The three-time reigning gold medalists trailed by as many as 15 in the second quarter but turned it around to eventually comfortably win 97-78. The victory puts Team USA into the gold medal game with a chance to win their fourth consecutive gold medal - their most since 1968.
🇺🇸 #USABMNT will play for a fourth consecutive Olympic gold medal at #Tokyo2020!@KDTrey5 23 PTS@DevinBook 20 PTS pic.twitter.com/rnCa6FRT8W- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 5, 2021
For the Boomers, it was yet another Semifinal exit - their second consecutive and fifth overall. For more on this dominating win, we have you covered with some takes below.
KD leads Team USA's firepower
In the end, Team USA had too much firepower. They had six players score nine points or more, led by Kevin Durant's 23 points. Devin Booker was a close second with 20 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field.
After missing their first nine 3-pointers, Team USA found their stroke and shot nine of their next 19 attempts from beyond the arc at an efficiency of 47.6 percent. Despite those early misses, Team USA shot 51.0 percent from the field and 63 percent on 2-point field goals.
For the Boomers, Patty Mills was their top scorer with 15 points, eight assists and three steals.
Game-changing third quarter
If the 16-4 run to end the first half wasn't enough, Team USA showed more proof that they were starting to find their groove with a great start to the third quarter.
For the third quarter, Team USA outscored Australia 32-10 with Kevin Durant sparking the initial run in that period.
Kevin. Durant.- USA Basketball (@usabasketball) August 5, 2021
No. 7 is up to 23 PTS for the game midway through the third quarter.#USABMNT #Tokyo2020 pic.twitter.com/GHd6mlUFcw
He scored or assisted on 13 of the team's 17-5 run to open the second half, which included 12 unanswered. For the first 3:58 of the period, Team USA held Boomers scoreless.
The Boomers first-half defence was impressive with their activity on ball and weakside help tormenting the USA on the perimeter as they closed out on shooters and contested every shot.
USA trailed by three at the break after connecting on just 2-of-13 from deep, but the second half was a completely different story as they went 7-of-15 from beyond the arc in the final 20 minutes.
Jrue Holiday the unsung hero
While Kevin Durant will grab the headlines for Team USA, their unsung hero tonight was Jrue Holiday.
The Milwakuee Bucks point guard was tasked with slowing down the engine of the Boomers offence in Patty Mills and he did as good a job as you could ask, staying in front of the Aussie veteran, cutting off driving lanes and squeezing him out on the 3-point line.
Mills shot 5-of-14 on the night and 2-of-9 from deep. He added eight assists as Holiday continually forced the ball out of his hands.
Meanwhile, Holiday finished with a near triple-double of 11 points, eight rebounds (four offensive), eight assists, one steal and one block.
Team USA will take on the winner of the France-Slovenia semi-final in the gold medal game on Friday at 10:30 p.m. ET.
Meanwhile, despite the heartbreaking loss, the Australian Boomers still have a shot at history. They can still grab their first-ever medal in the bronze medal game, where they will face the loser of the France-Slovenia semifinal.
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