Olympics: U.S. storms into men’s basketball final

After losing to France in the opener, three-time defending champion the United States nailed down another big win as they beat Australia 97-78 in Thursday’s semifinals of the Tokyo Olympic men’s basketball competition at the Saitama Super Arena.

The U.S. finished second in the group stage by overwhelming Iran 120-66 and the Czech Republic 119-84 before knocking out Spain 95-81 in the quarterfinals.

Kevin Durant led the U.S. with 23 points and nine rebounds while Devin Booker added 20 points, reports Xinhua.

In the final, they will run into France, who defeated Slovenia 90-89 in the other semifinal on Thursday.

Leading 24-18 in the first quarter, Australia maintained their more accurate long shots to extend the lead to 41-26 midway into the second, but the U.S. closed it to 45-42 with a 16-4 run before the break.

Seeking for their fourth consecutive title, the U.S. scored 13 straight points, eight from Durant, to start the third quarter 54-45, and Booker’s 3-pointer gave the Americans a 74-55 lead in this quarter.

There was no real Australian challenge in the fourth quarter.

Patty Mills scored a team-high 15 points and delivered eight assists for Australia.–IANS