Thanks in large part to Durant’s 29-point performance last week, Team USA topped France in Tokyo 87-82 in the gold medal game.
The victory not only secured the gold for Team USA, but it also avenged an earlier loss in Olympic group play to the French.
Durant Leads Team USA Yet Again
The 83-76 loss to France snapped a 25-game Olympic winning streak for Team USA.
In the earlier defeat, France overcame an eight-point deficit in the final four minutes to take the win.
In that contest, Durant played arguably the worst game of his Olympic career.
He shot 4-for-12 from the field and ultimately fouled out after 21 minutes of play.
From there, though, Durant zeroed in and led Team USA back to the top spot on the medal platform.
In the four games following the loss to France, Durant averaged 21.3 points per game on 58 percent shooting (32-for-55).
These performances catapulted Team USA back into gold medal contention.
Durant and company got revenge on Australia for an earlier exhibition loss, defeating the Aussies 97-78 in the semifinal round of the tournament.
In that game, Durant paced the team, scoring 23 points and netting 10-of-19 shots from the field.
All of this led to the gold medal matchup with France.
Durant kept Team USA afloat throughout the close contest, scoring 21 in the first half alone.
All told, he scored 29 points in the gold medal game.
He now has three of the top five performances in a gold medal game in Olympic men’s basketball history.
Kevin Durant finished with 29 points in Team USA's victory over France.
That is tied for the 4th-most points in the gold medal game in Olympic men's basketball history. pic.twitter.com/MgHcdQnxK7
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) August 7, 2021
Durant Best Performer In Team USA History
The list of NBA MVPs, scoring leaders, and league champions stretches a long way, but Durant holds the top performances on that list.
Durant’s first taste of international play came at the 2010 FIBA World Championships, though he was among the final cuts for 2008’s “Redeem Team.”
Just 21 at the time, Durant led a team without some of the NBA’s top stars.
He helped Team USA win its first FIBA World Championship since 1994 and earned MVP honors along the way.
In that tournament, he averaged 22.8 points, 6.1 rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game.
From there, Durant became a staple for the National Team.
In 2012, Durant joined Team USA in London for the Olympics and spurred an undefeated run to the gold medal.
During that tournament, Durant scored a U.S. Olympic record 156 points total.
In the gold medal game against Spain, the 23-year-old scored an Olympic record 30 points on just 18 shots.
Four years later, Durant again led Team USA to gold, this time in Rio.
He became the first American to lead the team in scoring in back-to-back Olympic tournaments.
He scored 155 points total in that one, and dropped 30 points on Serbia in the gold medal game.
Now 32 years old, Durant paced American players again during these Olympics, leading Team USA with 124 points scored.
If this is indeed his final Olympic run, he finishes his National Team career as the leader in points scored, three-pointers made and attempted, free throws made, and scoring average.
Is Kevin Durant the best player in men's Team USA history?
He's making the case for it 🥇🥇🥇 pic.twitter.com/k9DUPnmlcd
— SB Nation (@SBNation) August 7, 2021
He’s tied with Carmelo Anthony with three gold medals won.NEXT: 3 Things We Learned About Team USA Basketball In Tokyo