After over 2 weeks of playing dismal, uninspired basketball, the US finally came together on Sunday afternoon in the Gold Medal Game, pummeling Serbia 96-66 in the process.
The game started off in a familiar fashion for the United States, with constant isolation on offense and frequent lapses in concentration of defense giving off the vibe that this would be yet another grinded-out dogfight that this US team has become so accustomed to.
But then Coach K tried something new towards the end of the first quarter.
He threw Kevin Durant out there with his “pitbull” second team to add some perimeter scoring to the defensive-minded unit, and it was all uphill from there.
The United States finally allowed their defense to create their offense, and got out in transition like we’d been expecting them to all tournament long.
Things just got better in the second quarter, as KD got hot, and rather than relying on the iso-ball that has failed them all tournament long, they produced some of the most aesthetic one-touch passing that we’ve seen from any team all tournament, like this sequence from late in the second quarter:
They stomped on the throat of Serbia early, and unlike the previous matchup, kept the onslaught going throughout the second half.
The high-octane, high-quality offense, along with tenacious defense continued in the second, and their 23-point halftime led ballooned to 41 after DeMar DeRozan finished off this 2008-esque fast break, while involved a Kyle Lowry crossover for the ages:
Though still a disappointment overall, the United States went out with a bang, and showed us all just what they’re capable of.