Sunday, August 12, 2012
3-pointers distinguished Team USA, Durant
By ESPN Stats & Information
Getty Images/ Christian Petersen
Kevin Durant had plenty to celebrate on his record-setting, gold medal-winning day.
Kevin Durant may not have won an NBA championship this past summer, but he can take pride in being the best of the best at the most important time in this year's Olympics.
Team USA's 107-100 win over Spain gave it 14 gold medals in men's basketball, 17 straight Olympic wins, and 50 straight wins in International play.
How they won
Durant set a Team USA record for scoring in a gold medal game with 30 points. He was the fifth player in Team USA history to score at least 30 points in an Olympic game, joining Adrian Dantley (30, 1976), Charles Barkley (30, 1992), Stephon Marbury (31, 2004), and teammate Carmelo Anthony (37, 2012).
Durant’s 156 points are the most by a Team USA player in a single Olympics, surpassing the mark of 145 set by Spencer Haywood in 1968.
Durant finished as the high scorer among all players in this year’s Olympics, edging Manu Ginobili (155) and Pau Gasol (153).
Durant’s 34 3-pointers are also the most by any Team USA player in Olympics history.
That’s twice as many as the record heading into this year’s Olympics (Reggie Miller 17 in 1996, Kobe Bryant 17 in 2008).
Durant took huge advantage of a closer 3-point line in international play. He shot 52 percent from 3-point range in the Olympics after shooting 37 percent in the regular season and 39 percent in the playoffs.
The United States averaged 16 3-pointers per game in Olympics play and shot 44 percent from long range in the competition. No other team averaged double-figures in 3-pointers per game, or shot better than 38 percent on those shots.
LeBron James scored some big points late, finishing with 19 for the game. His 273 career points in Olympic play are second-most all-time to David Robinson’s 280.
James joined Michael Jordan (1992) as the only players to win an NBA title, NBA MVP award and a gold medal in the same year.
Offensively, Team USA played in a little different manner than it had in its previous games this Olympics. It recorded only 13 assists on its 34 baskets (38 percent of them). Entering the day, Team USA players assisted on 63 percent of scores.
On defense, the United States clamped down on Spain’s 3-point shooting. Spain was 7-for-13 on 3-pointers in the first half but did not make any of its six attempts in the last 20 minutes.
Those who compare the 1992 team to the 2012 team can point out three advantages for the 1992 squad.
The “Dream Team” averaged 117.3 points and won by an average of almost 44 points to the 2012 team’s 115.5 and 32. The 1992 squad also did not have a single-digit win in its eight games. The 2012 team had two of them, including Sunday’s.
With golds in wrestling and men’s basketball, the United States set a team record for its most golds in an Olympics on foreign soil, breaking a longtime mark set in Paris in 1924 and matched in Mexico City in 1968.
There are more events now (302, compared to 172 in 1968), though there are also more countries participating (204 in 2012, 112 in 1968).