Despite absences from gold medal winners of years past, the 2021 Team USA basketball team that took the court at the Tokyo Olympics in the Summer Games was the prohibitive favorite to stand atop the men’s podium once again.
After defeating Spain 95-81 in the quarterfinals, Team USA basketball decisively beat Australia in the semifinal, and then topped France 87-82 in the Gold Medal Game. Check out our preview of the game below, and keep scrolling for all the results from Team USA’s Olympic run, along with how we viewed their outlook before the Tokyo Games began.
Team USA vs France preview
It’s the gold medal game of the Tokyo Olympics with Team USA basketball facing France with a lot at stake for both countries before a deserved offseason break.
France narrowly defeated a Luka Doncic-led Slovenia team in the semifinal, winning 90-89 thanks to a clutch block from Nicolas Batum. Leading the French is All-Star center Rudy Gobert and recent New York Knicks signee Evan Fournier.
The key for Team USA is to contain both players. Gobert provides a daunting challenge considering Gregg Popovich built a roster without much size. Gobert dropped 14 points in an 83-67 victory on July 25 and Fournier led the way with a game-high 28 points.
But the United States is rolling as of late, winning each of their past four games by 14-plus points. Kevin Durant is stepping up as the greatest basketball player in US Olympic history and other stars are contributing. One thing to watch, will Team USA avoid the slow starts that have hurt them before.
Prediction: Team USA 103, France 92
Team USA Basketball Schedule
|July 6-18||Training Camp at UNLV||—|
|Saturday, July 10||Nigeria 90, Team USA 87||8:00 PM|
|Monday, July 12||Australia 91, Team USA 83||8:00 PM|
|Tuesday, July 13||Team USA 108, Argentina 80||6:00 PM|
|Friday, July 16||Exhibition game vs. Australia — CANCELLED||6:00 PM|
|Sunday, July 18||Team USA 83, Spain 76||9:00 PM|
|Date||Summer Olympics matchup (Saitama, Japan)||Time (ET)|
|Sunday, July 25||France 83, USA 76||8:00 AM|
|Wednesday, July 28||USA 120, Iran 66||12:40 AM|
|Saturday, July 31||USA 119, Czech Republic 84||8:00 AM|
|Tuesday, Aug. 3||USA 95, Spain 81||12:40 AM|
|Thursday, Aug. 5||USA 97, Australia 78||12:15 AM|
|Friday, Aug. 6||Gold Medal Game: USA 87, France 82||10:30 PM|
|Saturday, Aug. 7||Bronze Medal Game: Australia 107, Slovenia 93||7:00 AM|
Team USA Basketball roster for Tokyo Olympics
Based on the NBA stars who’ve been widely reported to commit to the Olympics, here’s a look at the latest Team USA basketball roster for the Tokyo Games:
The final Team USA basketball roster features 12 players, and it’s definitely an interesting group.
Notable absences include Los Angeles Lakers superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell and James Harden of the Brooklyn Nets. All of them suffered injuries during the shortened NBA regular season and are using this time in the offseason to recover.
Even though the Milwaukee Bucks and Phoenix Suns qualified for the NBA Finals, it appears that Phoenix’s Devin Booker and Bucks teammates Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton are committed to play.
Legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is at the helm for the Americans. Popovich takes over for Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski, who’s going to retire following the Blue Devils’ upcoming season and has led the U.S. to three straight gold medals.
Team USA is calling on three Select Team players to fill out the roster: After a strong showing as part of the Select Team, Spurs wing Keldon Johnson has reportedly earned his way onto the 12-man roster, along with Denver Nuggets center JaVale McGee, as Kevin Love backed out and Bradley Beal was ruled out.
You can bet many fans wanted to see young New Orleans Pelicans sensation Zion Williamson get a spot, not to mention Atlanta Hawks superstar Trae Young and NBA Rookie of the Year LaMelo Ball. Instead, Team USA opted for experience over youth. Time will tell if that was the right call.
Team USA Basketball Tokyo Olympics preview
Team USA has more than enough firepower to win the gold medal yet again, and since reigning NBA MVP Nikola Jokic isn’t going to play for Serbia, the 2016 silver medalists fell in their final qualifier to Italy, so they’re out of the running.
Although Spain figures to be a threat once again, the Americans should be too much for anyone to overcome, despite their sluggish start in two exhibition losses. The question is how this 2021 squad will respond, with a new coaching staff and a roster full of fresh faces in the fold.
As the roster currently stands, the only Team USA basketball holdovers from 2016’s triumphant team would be Kevin Durant and Draymond Green. They were newly minted Golden State Warriors teammates at the time, but especially once KD left for Brooklyn, there were some sour grapes.
The hope is that KD and Green can put aside their differences for the greater cause. They’ve acted cordially of late, but you never know what can happen. Losing exhibition games isn’t what anyone had in mind. What if things don’t jell in Tokyo?
Team USA is always a fascinating chemistry experiment, and considering how mercurial both players can be, the hope is that old frustrations don’t bubble back to the surface.
With Popovich coaching and the Warriors’ Steve Kerr serving as an assistant, it’ll certainly be an awkward dynamic that’ll need to be worked through.
A silver lining to the Nets’ early playoff exit is that Durant is likely to be eager to get back in action and play angry in Japan. Durant are poised to have phenomenal showings at the Olympics and really leave his imprint on this squad as a leader.
No matter who ultimately fills out the rest of the roster, this is a USA squad with a nice blend of backcourt depth and highly versatile frontcourt players in Durant, Jayson Tatum and Bam Adebayo.
After dealing with marginal talent on the Spurs amid a two-year playoff drought, it’ll be amazing to see Popovich at the controls of an absolutely loaded Team USA basketball roster. It should culminate in another gold medal win for the United States, as the Americans continue to assert their dominance on the hardwood.
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