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USA blow away Serbia in one-sided men’s basketball final

Team of NBA stars are too strong for first-time finalists at Carioca Arena 1

ts at Carioca Arena 1

USA blow away Serbia in one-sided men's basketball final

DeAndre Jordan rises for one of many slam dunks in a game that the USA took above the rim (Photo: Getty Images/Mike Ehrmann)

The USA has won its third consecutive gold medal and now has six of seven since NBA players were allowed into the Olympic Games in 1992.

Serbia did not play to their best but should be happy with silver. Their narrow 94-91 loss to the USA in the preliminaries belied the fact that they were up against a far superior team.

With just one NBA player in their ranks, Serbia were always going to struggle against a fully roused American starting five.

That one NBA player, Nikola Jokic, said: “Maybe they were more aggressive, they were more concentrated. We didn’t go in the game with that passion like the first game. I don’t know, that happened, I can’t explain. It doesn’t matter. We won a silver and that’s a big thing for us.”

Team USA, meanwhile, had found and engaged fifth gear. Superior technical ability aside, the Americans grabbed hold of the game with pure hustle and speed. Like a game on the asphalt of New York’s fabled Rucker Park, this final was a fast-break-ridden, merciless one. It ended 96-66.

Every loose ball found its way into American hands. Every rebound was boxed out and pounced on. Serbs who dared drive into the key found themselves thrown into a ferocious mixer that inevitably spewed the ball out into the hands of a USA jersey.

The crowd, and indeed the Serbs, could do little but sit back and watch as a team of players whose skills have been honed within a entrenched culture of basketball picked apart anything that resembled an affront on their dominance.

Carmelo Anthony shakes coach Mike Krzyzewski’s hand before the two embraced (Photo: Getty Images/Christian Petersen)

Kevin Durant led the way with 31 points while DeMarcus Cousins and team captain Carmelo Anthony picked up 21 rebounds between them.

After the game, Anthony said: “It was a special moment for me. I know this is the end. This is it for me. I committed to this in ’04. I’ve seen the worst and I’ve seen the best. I’m here today three gold medals later.”

The win was also the ultimate send off for coach Mike Krzyzewski, or ‘Coach K’, who steps down today. He told Yahoo Sport: “It has been the ultimate honour of my life in coaching and I’ve coached for 41 years. There’s no greater honour than to coach your country’s team, and to coach the US team with not just their level of talent but commitment that these guys have shown.”

Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2001, Coach K became the first to lead three Olympic teams to titles after being brought in to correct the diaster that was a bronze medal in Athens.




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