Team USA basketball vs. Czech Republic score, Tokyo Olympics: Kevin Durant makes history in win for U.S.
Team USA punched its ticket to the knockout stage at the 2020 Tokyo Olympics with a dominant 119-84 win over the Czech Republic on Saturday. The win was the second straight for the U.S., as they also defeated Iran after dropping their Olympic opener to France. Team USA will now get an opportunity to move on and continue to compete for their fourth straight gold medal.
Jayson Tatum had his best showing of the Olympics so far, and he led the U.S. with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting from the floor. Kevin Durant also added 23 points (on 8-of-11 shooting) to go along with eight rebounds and six assists for the United States and Zach LaVine had 13 points and five assists.
As a team, the U.S. shot a scorching 62 percent from the field and 48 percent from long range over the course of the contest, and ultimately their hot shooting, combined with some tenacious defense (they forced 15 turnovers), proved to be too much for the Czech Republic to overcome. Blake Schilb paced the Czechs with 17 points and five rebounds, while Jan Vesely added 13 points, four assists and three rebounds of his own.
After losing their first game to France, the U.S. has won its last two games by a combined 89 points, and the team appears poised to make a real run at gold. Now that they’ve moved on, the United States’ next opponent will be determined by a draw on Sunday. Before moving ahead though, here’s a look at three key takeaways from the United States’ win over the Czech Republic.
1. Durant becomes Team USA’s all-time leading Olympic scorer
Kevin Durant is arguably one of the best scorers in NBA history, and now he’s also the most prolific scorer in United States Olympic men’s basketball history. With his point production against the Czech Republic on Saturday, Durant moved past Carmelo Anthony to become the U.S.’s all-time leading scorer. Anthony, who scored a total of 336 points in Olympic play, now drops to second on the list behind Durant, while LeBron James sits at third with 273 points.
Durant passed Anthony with this pull-up 3-pointer from the top of the key midway through the second quarter:
Durant didn’t stop once he set the record though, as he continued to rain down silky smooth jumpers on the Czechs. In all, Durant needed only 11 shot attempts to score 23 points to help propel the U.S. to the knockout round.
At halftime of the game, U.S. assistant coach Steve Kerr said that Durant is the “most talented player in the world.” After watching him torch the Czech Republic and become the U.S.’s all-time leading scorer in the process, it’s tough to disagree with him.
2. Jayson Tatum had his best game of the Olympics
Durant got things rolling in the first half for the U.S., but Jayson Tatum really took over in the second half and secured the victory. Tatum had his best game of the Olympics so far, as he finished with a team-high 27 points (on just 16 shots), and he hit five of his six 3-point attempts.
So, what did United States coach Gregg Popovich say to unlock such a productive performance from Tatum?
“I told Jayson to act like he’s playing the Spurs,” Popovich said after the game. “Every time he plays us he scores like 90.”
Now, that’s some solid coaching.
3. The U.S. completely dominated the second half
You wouldn’t know it based on the final score, but this game was actually close throughout the first 20 minutes of action. The Czech Republic actually led the game 25-18 after the first quarter, and at halftime, the U.S. only led by four points. But, in the second half, Team USA blew it wide open. The Americans outscored the Czechs 35-17 in the third quarter, and then 37-24 in the final quarter to secure the dominant victory. In all, the U.S. outscored the Czech Republic 72-41 in the second half.
The Czech Republic may not be the best defensive team in the Olympics, but scoring 72 points in 20 minutes against anyone is pretty impressive. The 3-point line was a huge factor for the U.S. in the win, as they were able to knock down 20 shots from beyond the arc compared to the eight that the Czechs made. That’s a 36-point advantage from beyond the arc for the U. S. in a game they won by 35. If they’re able to continue to shoot like that, it will be tough for anyone to take down Team USA.
Team USA basketball vs. Czech Republic, Tokyo Olympics: United States looks to close out group play with a win
Team USA opened Olympic play with a disappointing loss to France, but they were able to bounce back with a monster win over Iran. Now, they’ll be looking for their second straight victory when they take on the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic enters the contest having also defeated Iran and lost to France in their first two games.
The 12 teams that are competing in the Olympics are split into three groups and every team within a group faces the other three teams from the group for a total of three games in the group stage. The teams that finish in first and second place from each group will advance into the quarterfinals, along with the two best third-place teams overall. The game between the U.S. and the Czech Republic is the final game of group play for this foursome. With a victory, Team USA will secure its spot in the knockout stage, which will run from Aug. 3-7, and the same could be said for the Czech Republic.
Unlike Team USA, whose roster is comprised entirely of NBA players, the Czech Republic has just one current NBA player on its roster — Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky. The team has also former Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets big man Jan Veselý. Given the talent disparity between the two teams, the U.S. enters the contest as an overwhelming favorite.
Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup between the United States and the Czech Republic.
United States vs. Czech Republic
- Date: Saturday, July 31 | Time: 8 a.m. ET
- Location: Saitama Super Arena — Saitama, Japan
- TV: Peacock | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
- Odds: USA -4500; CRP +1500 | O/U: 183. 5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)
United States: Team USA looked much better in their second game against Iran than they did in their Olympic opener against France, and that fact wasn’t lost on the players.
“I think we came out with a lot more urgency,” Dame Lillard said after the win over Iran. “Our energy was higher, we played at a faster pace. We were more aggressive, and we played like ourselves. We didn’t come out here and think that it was just gonna happen, we made it happen, and that’s the way that we got to play if we want to be successful in these Olympics… I think our communication as a group, you know, just being in a hotel together, being in the dining areas together, at practice shooting around just talking, I feel like after that loss we came together. It was a lot of communication between then and now where it was like alright it’s time start looking like Team USA.”
The fact that the chemistry, both on and off of the court, seems to be growing within Team USA is good news for them, and bad news for the rest of the field. The U.S. is easily the most talented team in the Olympics, and when they play up to their potential. they’re extremely tough to topple. As such, their goal needs to just continue to be to play with the proper focus and energy. Plus, knocking down shots helps too. As a team, the U.S. shot just 36 percent from the floor against France, but they bumped that up to 44 percent against Iran. If the U.S. can play with that aforementioned focus and energy and also continue to make shots, they should be in good shape, both against the Czech Republic and beyond.
Czech Republic: Since establishing itself as a country in 1993, the Czech Republic has never qualified for Olympic play before this year, so this entire experience is extremely noteworthy for them. But, when it comes to their first-ever Olympic matchup with the United States, well, they’re simply overmatched. They have only two players with any NBA experience on their roster, while the U.S. roster is filled with NBA All-Stars, champions, and a former MVP in Kevin Durant. The Czech Republic was only able to defeat Iran by six points, while the U.S. annihilated the Iranian team, 120-66. In short, this game could be a tough one for the Czechs.
Team USA is the (much) more talented team on paper, and the chemistry within the team appears to be growing. After dropping two exhibition games and their opener to France, one has to assume that the U.S. will be eager to avoid any further let-downs. The U.S. needs a win to secure their spot in the next stage of Olympic play, and they’re going to get it. Pick: Team USA – 24
Breakfast and basketball: Team USA takes on Czech Republic
Needed that in the worst way. After a tough loss against France, the United States Men’s Basketball Team came into the game against Iran looking to make a statement and right the ship. They did that and then some in a run away, 54 point victory.
The Czech Republic will look to keep the United States out of the medal round. They’re 1-1 in the Olympics after taking a 20 point loss to France. As we know, France beat the USA to begin the Olympics.
Where to follow the game
Peacock (if you got it). The NBC Sports App if you don’t. Breakfast and basketball so the party’s getting started after 8 a.m. ET.
Nothing doing for either side.
One thing that was readily apparent was that Team USA was playing a lot faster than they have been. Here’s Damian Lillard to explain:
“Our energy was higher, we played at a faster pace. We were more aggressive, and we played like ourselves. We didn’t come out here and think that it was just gonna happen, we made it happen, and that’s the way that we got to play if we want to be successful in these Olympics.”
Play fast, play to have fun, play with purpose.
Technically, Team USA can advance to the next stage even if they lose. The hope would be the point differential would save them and get them into the medal round. However, the best way to remove any doubt is to handle your business and win.
Kevin Durant is a few points away from history. KD is six points away from surpassing Carmelo Anthony for the all time scoring lead for the United States Men’s team. Durant had an easy day at the office as he scored 10 points and knocked down 2-4 from deep in 19 minutes. He got to take the fourth quarter off and I’m sure Brooklyn Nets fans appreciate any time KD gets to rest and relax.
It took a game, but it looks like Devin Booker is back in a groove. He had a smooth 16 points on 6-8 shooting as his midrange jumpers help give Gregg Popovich another capable scoring and playmaking option on the roster. When you’re not able to hit from three like the Americans were on Sunday, you need to be able to get to your spots and create offense in that in-between game. Book is one of the very best at it and if he’s locked in, the United States will have an all-world scorer on the court at all times.
Size was an issue for the Americans against France, and it might prove troublesome here. Ondrej Balvin has been excellent in the two games so far as he’s shooting 70.6 percent from the field and averaging eight rebounds a game. He made two threes vs. France, which is kinda surprising when you consider he’s only made one three pointer across 11 years of league and tournament play. For the Americans, the trio of Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, and Jerami Grant will look to keep Balvin off the boards and look to get America out in transition.
France made the Czechs pay for their 17 turnovers by scoring 22 points off of them. If they’re that sloppy today, the US team will be able to get out in transition and collect easy baskets. With this being a 40 minute game, managing possessions takes on even more importance, especially when a spot at competing for the gold is on the line.
Player to watch: Damian Lillard
When you’re hot, you’re hot. After a bumpy debut vs. France, Lillard got back in formation by making seven threes as he scored a game high 21 points vs. Iran. The American team will be able to win gold if their shooters are on target, and Dame is someone (along with KD) that has the responsibility of anchoring the offense.
Tomas Satoransky will be manning the point for the Czechs. He’s been a quality NBA player so fans will recognize him when he gets brought up. He can knock down threes, does a good job of running the offense, and can be a bit physical as well. He has a tough guard matchup with Lillard and Jrue Holiday, but he’ll be up to the challenge.
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