U.S. men’s basketball team advances to gold-medal game after rout of Australia

Kevin Durant scored 23 points, and Devin Booker added 20.

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Devin Booker

Devin Booker #15 of Team United States shoots over Nathan Sobey #9 of Team Australia during the second half of a Men’s Basketball quarterfinals game on day thirteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 05, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.

Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

SAITAMA, Japan — Kevin Durant and the Americans still have their grip on gold and it’s going to take more than a few bad minutes for anyone to take it away from them.

They were awful early, then awesome afterward against Australia.

Durant scored 23 points, Devin Booker had 20 and the U.S. blew past and eventually blew away the Aussies 97-78 on Thursday in the Olympic men’s basketball semifinals after falling into a 15-point hole.

With their gold-medal streak looking in jeopardy midway through the second quarter, the Americans overwhelmed the Australians with a 48-14 stretch that gave them a 74-55 lead after three periods.

The U.S. missed its first 10 3-point attempts and didn’t hit one until late in the second quarter, then it felt as if the Americans hardly missed again, with Booker making three 3-pointers.

Jrue Holiday had 11 points, eight rebounds and eight assists for the U.S., which will play European champion Slovenia or France for a fourth straight gold medal Saturday. The French beat the Americans 83-76 in their Olympic opener.

That was part of a 2-3 start to the summer for the U.S., which included a loss to the Australians in an exhibition game in Las Vegas.

The Americans don’t look like that team anymore.

They look like the best team in the world, like those that used to win gold with ease.

Patty Mills scored 15 points for Australia, which still needs a win for its first Olympic basketball medal.

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