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21/08/2016
Game Report

USA beat Serbia to take third gold medal in a row

RIO DE JANEIRO (Rio 2016 Olympic Games) - The USA won the Olympic Basketball Tournament for the third consecutive time by beating Serbia, 96-66, in Sunday's Gold Medal Game at Carioca Arena 1.

In a re-match of the 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup Final, the two-time reigning World and Olympic champions rode the outside shooting of Kevin Durant and the powerful inside play of DeMarcus Cousins to turn a 19-15 lead at the end of the first quarter into a commanding 52-29 halftime advantage.

Serbia were unable to mount any kind of comeback after the break but came away with their best result in the competition in 20 years.

It is the third gold medal in a row for the USA after they topped the podium in Beijing (2008) and London (2012), when they got the better of Spain on both of those occasions.

The game went back and forth in the first quarter, with five lead changes and four ties. Cousins and Durant accounted for the USA's last five points of the period and that proved a sign of things to come.

The pair combined for 26 points in the second quarter as the USA outscored Serbia 33-14. Cousins scored inside and at the free-throw line and had a double-double (11 points and 12 rebounds - 5 of them on the offensive end) at the break. Durant, meanwhile, hit four three-pointers for 18 points in the period alone and had 24 at the half.

Turning Point: Durant had a steal and slam to put the USA up 33-22 with 6:57 left in the third quarter. Milos Teodosic scored at the other end but the Serbs were then on the receiving end of a 10-0 that saw them fall behind 43-22.

Stats Don't Lie: Serbia shot just 4-of-24 (17 percent) from three-point range.

Hero: Durant and Cousins set the tone for the USA and their team-mates were only too happy to follow their lead. Durant finished with 30 points while Cousins had 13 to go with 15 rebounds.

The Bottom Line: By winning for a third time in a row, the USA matched their second longest streak of consecutive gold medals at the Olympics. They won the first seven gold medals from 1932 to 1968 and then won three in a row from 1992 to 2000. For Serbia, the silver medal matches the result achieved 20 years ago, at the Atlanta Games when playing under the flag of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia. They lost to the USA on that occasion too, 95-69.

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