- Kevin Durant scored 23 points on 8-11 shooting to lead Team USA to a 119-84 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday.
- Durants is now the all-time leading Olympic scorer for Team USA with 354 total points scored in 19 Olympic games.
- Team USA is the -250 betting favorite to win the gold medal in the men’s basketball competition at the Tokyo Olympics.
Kevin Durant has added another feather in his cap.
With 23-points against the Czech Republic on Saturday at the Tokyo Olympics, KD overtook Carmelo Anthony as the all-time leading scorer for Team USA in the Olympics. Durant now has a total of 354 points scored in a total of 19 Olympic games played, 18 more than Melo’s career total of 336 which he accomplished in four Olympic tournaments.
Kevin Durant passes Carmelo Anthony to become the USA men’s basketball team’s all-time Olympic scoring leader 🔥
— ESPN (@espn) July 31, 2021
But more than KD setting the record, his red hot 8-11 shooting against the Czechs was a huge sigh of relief for USA Basketball which has been waiting for the “Real KD” to finally show up in Tokyo.
KD Doing KD Things
— Dan Wolken (@DanWolken) July 31, 2021
After a slow start that saw him score just 10 points each in the team’s first two games in Japan, including a 4-12 shooting games in their opening night loss to France, the Kevin Durant that Team USA was hoping to lead them to the gold medal finally showed up against the Czech Republic.
KD has been a stalwart for Team USA since his maiden appearance at the 2010 World Championships where he averaged 22.8 points per game while leading the team to the gold and winning Tournament MVP honors. He continued his brilliance with 155 and 156 total points during the London and Rio Olympics, respectively, while scoring 30 points in both gold medal matches.
But this 2021 Olympic appearance looked different. Stars like LeBron James and Steph Curry opted not to play for the flag, leaving Durant with a bigger responsibility than ever. KD had just finished his first NBA season back after an Achilles injury but his Brooklyn Nets were eliminated in Round 2 of the playoffs. Despite the challenges, he couldn’t say no to Team USA. when he could’ve easily done so. The trials didn’t end there.
Team USA suffered a shocking loss to Nigeria in their first exhibition game. That was followed by another exihibition defeat to Australia. Then they lost Bradley Beal to COVID-19 right before their trip to Tokyo. Devin Booker, Jrue Holiday, and Khris Middleton didn’t join the team until the 2021 NBA Finals were over.
Odds to Win Gold
Can USA Basketball pull off the #gold?
Czech Republic +20000
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) July 29, 2021
Team USA opened as a -1000 betting favorite to win the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics. However, after losing to France 83-76 in their opening preliminary round game, the Americans’ odds has dropped significantly but are still favored to win the tournament at -250 at the BetOnline App.
They have since won back to back games, blowing out Iran 120-66 in their second game and then shutting down the Czech Republic in their final preliminary round game on Saturday to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament along with Group A top finisher France. Group B’s top two teams Australia and Italy.
Two more Group C games are still to be played but Spain and Slovenia are currently on Top of the Group with 2-0 record each. Aside from the two two teams from each group, the two best third-place teams will play in the Round of 8 whose pairings will be determined by a draw on August 2nd.
The United States has won the last three men’s basketball tournaments in the Olympic games and six of seven since professional basketball players were allowed to play in the games. This year’s team was heavily favored too but after losing back to back exhibition games to Nigeria and France, they have been on shaky ground.