Kevin Durant continues to establish himself as one of the greatest players in the history of the United States national team – if not the greatest of them all. This morning (Thursday) KD scored 23 points, dropped nine rebounds and swept the Americans to a 78:97 victory over Australia in the semi.finals in Tokyo, leading a big comeback from minus 15 in the second quarter, and once again looking unstoppable.
Durant has already overtaken Carmelo Anthony at this Olympics and climbed to first place in the team’s all.time scoring table, and is now just one victory away from a third Olympic gold medal, having also done so in London and Rio. Given that he also won with the United States the 2010 World Cup when he was selected as the MVP, Durant’s list of achievements in the national uniform is almost unprecedented.
“He’s on his way to becoming the greatest United States national team player of all time,” Yahoo said after his show this morning. Notice Durant’s effect on the United States in the last three games:
Against the Czech Republic in the home stage: 23 points, 8 rebounds, 6 assists and a plus / minus index of 23+
Against Spain in the quarterfinals: 29 points, 4 assists and a plus / minus index of 15+
Against Australia in the semi.finals: 23 points, 9 rebounds, plus / minus 7+ index
If he reaches double digits in the points column in the final, Durant will most likely also become the highest.scoring average player of all time for the United States national team player, overtaking Michael Jordan. MK averaged 16 points per game in the national uniform, and Durant stood at 15.8 before tonight’s game.
“We have Kevin Durant. Who even needs LeBron James?” Tweeted Fox News commentator Skype Bailes, but Durant and the rest of the United States team insisted the victory this morning was primarily due to a team effort on defense. “There’s a sense that everyone is putting extra effort on the defensive side. Today Zack Lavine kept a great save, and that’s not always what he’s asked to do in the NBA. When we got to Tokyo, we all realized that fights are needed to become a great defensive team.“
Durant explained that the turning point in the game came before the relegation half, with the United States offsetting Australia’s difference from just 15 to three. “At that moment, I felt like the game was in our hands. That’s the point where things started to work out, and by the second half we were already showing who we really are.“
Devin Booker, who scored 20 points, also says that “the change came when we started saving. Once we turn on the switch, we leave no chance for rivalry. Defense is our key, and it is the one that will decide in the final as well.”