France put up a good fight in an entertaining Gold Medal final, but the United States and their superior prevailed to bring home another Gold for Men's Basketball. Kevin Durant was the MVP of the Olympics for Team USA and he had another dominant performance with 29 points, but Jayson Tatum chipped in with an integral 19 points of his own. The final score was USA 87, France 82.
If you remember the original Dream Team of 1992, there's the classic game versus Croatia where Michael Jordan and Scottie Pippen make it their mission to shutdown Toni Kukoc whop they viewed as Jerry Krause's shiny toy who didn't deserve the love he got. After former Celtic Evan Fournier led France with 28 points in Team USA's opening game of the Olympics, the Americans essentially gave Fournier the Kukoc business last night.
Know that Durant just agreed to an extension, but after a couple more yrs of Kyrie disappearing vs MIL (either due to suckitude, ie '19, or Lucky tripping him, ie '21) KD will eventually join Tatum & Ime in BOS to finish out his career w/ some ☘️🏆🏆🏆pic.twitter.com/t9lRKDTrvNhttps://t.co/pwTZSnSy9y
If France was going to win it would be because supporting players stepped up and not because Team USA let Fournier dominate. With USA locking up Fournier, Rudy Gobert and their supporting cast didn't come to play, but it simply wasn't enough. There were several key possessions where the American length and effort on defense caused turnovers which led to fast break points on the other end.
I did former Celtic big Guerschon Yabusele a disservice for not giving him credit in my column after France's win over USA in Game 1. I should note he hit a few big 3's to keep France in this gold medal game. He was a major part of the Silver Medal winning France squad so props to the Dancing Bear.
Celtics star Jayson Tatum couldn't have been happier after the win. Congrats to Tatum, as well as nee Celtics head coach Ime Udoka who served as one of Greg Popovich's assistants in Tokyo. Also respect to all the American players who dedicated their summers to representing their country and playing for free in the hopes of winning Gold. Was nice to be able to actually root for Kevin Durant for a change again. Man he's talented. And he could have easily bowed out of the Olympics to rest following a long season as well as another one expected in the queue.
Also props to Jrue Holiday, Kris Middleton, and Devin Booker for going straight from a grueling NBA Finals to the Olympics. Holiday is sure a joy to watch, especially on defense. Now it makes perfect sense why Danny Ainge tried so hard last offseason to trade Kemba for more draft picks to satisfy the Pelicans asking price for Jrue in a trade.
He would have been a game changer on this past season's Celtics team. So much so I believe, that if you swap Kemba for Holiday and Jaylen Brown doesn't get hurt, I think the Celtics could have been the ones who won the NBA championship. And I'm not even a Kemba basher, but I just have become that big of a fan of Holiday's. The defensive backcourt with him and Smart would have been unreal.
The last thing I'll say about watching the Olympics is I'd love for the NBA game to resemble the international game more. Loved that players were allowed to actually be physical, that the refs didn't call everything, and that there was no frickin' replay and challenges all the time. Not sure what America's obsession is with replay reviews but they kill the flow of all our sports. Either have a system where a call is overturned immediately or scrap the whole thing.
Seems like every international rule is there to give fans and players a more enjoyable basketball experience, whereas NBA rules have become ridiculous. It was fun being allowed to see tougher defense which made scoring a basket more of a feat.
The NBA game right now reminds me too much of the 1990's arcade game NBA Jam when you chose a 3-point shooting duo like the Warriors Chris Mullin and Tim Hardaway. The international game resembles more the NBA game back when they had the "NBA is FANtastic" theme.
Barring an injury, look for Jayson Tatum to be apart of the Paris Olympics in 2024. Hopefully Jaylen Brown (and possibly another Celtics star) can join him next time around.