Basketball: U.S. routs Serbia for third straight gold

Sun Aug 21, 2016 7:32pm EDT
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By Steve Keating

RIO DE JANEIRO (Reuters) - A ruthless United States pounded Serbia 96-66 to claim a third straight Olympic men's basketball title on Sunday, giving coach Mike Krzyzewski a golden send-off.

After scrapping to a tense three-point win over Serbia in the group round, the United States quickly removed any suspense from the rematch, surging to a 52-29 halftime lead then cruising to their 25th straight win on Olympic hardwood.

Kevin Durant led the assault, pouring in 30 points including 24 in a brilliant opening half, while DeMarcus Cousins was again a beast on the boards, pulling down 15 rebounds.

"To go home as gold medalists and leave Coach K off with another gold was one of our main goals as well," Durant told reporters. "I’m excited we got the chance to do this and play with such great players, and I’m on cloud nine right now for sure.”

The rout capped a brilliant tenure as Team USA head coach for Krzyzewski, who signs off after guiding the U.S. to three consecutive Olympic gold medals and an astounding 88-1 record in international competition.

The only blemish on "Coach K's" otherwise perfect resume is a semi-final loss to Greece at the 2006 world championships.

"For me, this (gold) ranks just like the others," Krzyzewski told reporters. "I’ve been really a lucky guy, collegiately and internationally to be part of championship teams.

"I think the way these players have felt, they’re given an opportunity to play for their country and you make the most of it."   Continued...

2016 Rio Olympics - Basketball - Final - Men's Gold Medal Game Serbia v USA - Carioca Arena 1 - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 21/8/2016. Kevin Durant (USA) of the USA and Carmelo Anthony (USA) of the USA celebrate. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez