The Vertical: Pop is living his best life as a gold medalist 🤣🥇 (via @Draymond Green) pic.twitter.com/wGcY0qxJNl
RJ Marquez: Kevin Durant with a message to those who doubted Team USA and Gregg Popovich. This was on Instagram live: “They were talking s*** about Pop saying he couldn’t get us to lock in…stop playing man! We were going to get this dub.” pic.twitter.com/xCQxeh4CwL
Ben Golliver: USA’s Kevin Durant puts his gold medal on coach Gregg Popovich pic.twitter.com/DctU3463at
Tim Reynolds: Pop on the guys putting the medals on him: “It felt like I was here.” Pop is Pop, man.
Mike Finger: Draymond Green, feeling good after ceremony, wraps arm around Keldon Johnson. “We got a young 21-year-old they said shouldn’t be here. They gave Pop sh*t for it. And he brought more energy than anybody. That’s what we needed.”
Ben Golliver: 2020 Tokyo Olympics men's basketball medal stand Gold: USA (16th gold, 19th medal) Silver: France (3rd silver, 3rd medal) Bronze: Australia (1st ever medal) pic.twitter.com/BzvWMb2F3N
Tim Reynolds: Steve Kerr on Kevin Durant: "He's fearless. I've said it before: He's the most skilled basketball player ever. I mean that. There's nobody that's his size, 6-11, that combines shooting and ballhandling skills and athleticism. You've never seen it before. (1/2)
Ben Golliver: USA’s Gregg Popovich on Kevin Durant: “KD is not special because he’s so talented. The way he works on his game is more impressive… The joy he has in playing, it’s like osmosis. It goes into the other players.” pic.twitter.com/16GaiYFhuh
The math is simple. Eight players were not enough to even have a regular basketball 5v5 practice. You hear players mention the word "sacrifice" a lot. But what the men from the top offices of the USA Basketball had to do to get the team to where they wanted to be took even more than sacrifice, because the three players from the USA Select Team knew they were always going to be in the background. They didn't care, though. They were ready to join the team in the exhibition games before the Olympic Games. They even made the trip to Japan to help the squad play 5v5 in practices until the NBA Finalists arrived. Draymond Green doesn't want you to forget about them. "We had three guys, John Jenkins, Cam Reynolds and Josh (Magette) who gave up their time with no reward in the end, except to see this team win the gold medal," Green said after winning the Final against France in the Saitama Super Arena. He went on: "Those guys are special. We had nine guys, we lost Bradley Beal, Kevin Love - we started losing guys, and those guys were here. Doing everything we needed to win a gold medal. It's a very special group, it's not just the twelve guys you saw win the gold medal."
Tim Reynolds: JaVale McGee on being part of the first mother-son gold-medal duo in US Olympic history: “It's an amazing feeling, man. I've got a gold medal. My mother has a gold medal. ... You can't really explain it. Just knowing you're the best in the world, amazing, man."
This time, though, he wasn’t standing at attention. While his Team USA players hooted, hollered and waved Old Glory on the court in front of him, celebrating the Olympics vindication that their 72-year-old coach had craved his entire adult life, Popovich sat alone in his chair on the sideline at Saitama Super Arena. “I was totally frozen,” Popovich said after USA Basketball beat France 87-82 in the Tokyo Games gold-medal game Saturday. “I didn’t do anything. I sat there scared to death.”
Shams Charania: Sources: Damian Lillard played through an abdomen injury during Team USA’s Tokyo Olympics run, which will require further testing upon return to the States. Lillard wanted to continue playing to help USA capture the gold medal.
Ben Golliver: Kevin Durant said Team USA held a players-only meeting after opening loss to France: "When you have a team meeting, you’re at the bottom. We worked our way up from there... A lot of people back home doubted us.... We came together and finished it off with a perfect ending."
Ben Golliver: USA's Gregg Popovich after winning Olympic gold: "We're glad it's over."
Jorge Sierra: Only seven players with multiple NBA titles and Olympic golds: Michael Jordan Scottie Pippen David Robinson Kobe Bryant LeBron James Kevin Durant DRAYMOND GREEN
Gary Washburn: Jayson Tatum told me he plans to play for more USA Olympic teams: “Yeah, this is fun.” #Celtics #Tokyo2020
Tim Reynolds: Draymond speaks: “When you talk about a special group, you better be sure that you’re right. A lot of people got it wrong. And trust me, I’ll be posting those guys. I’ll be posting everybody I found who said something. Because no one holds anyone accountable anymore. But I will.” pic.twitter.com/lWrm2e3rK9
Monte Poole: Draymond Green's admission in his postgame interview with NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai: It was hard to leave his family, so he took 2 of his baby girl's (clean) diapers to Tokyo as reminders of home.
Mike Finger: Steve Kerr describing the first few seconds after Gregg Popovich had guided Team USA to a gold medal: “He was emotional. It’s been five years… He’s put in so much work, effort and emotion. He was very emotional, and thrilled, and relieved, and all of that.”
Ben Golliver: USA Basketball’s Jerry Colangelo was holding back tears while praising Kevin Durant for leading gold medal win over France at 2020 Tokyo Olympics. He added: “The last [gold medal] is always the best one. … I want a glass of champagne.”
Ben Golliver: France's Rudy Gobert: "We tried to make him work as hard as we can, but he’s Kevin Durant. He’s going to hit shots that only him, in the world, can hit. ... I think he's the best scorer in basketball. He's going to do what he does, especially on the biggest stage."
Casey Holdahl: USA 87, France 82: FINAL in the gold medal game. @Damian Lillard with 11 points, 2 assists, a steal and a rebound in 26 minutes. @Kevin Durant carries the country with 29 points, @Jayson Tatum with 19. Fourth-straight gold for the United States.
Jorge Sierra: Best scoring averages for USA at the Olympics... KEVIN DURANT (2021): 20.7 Kevin Durant (2012): 19.5 Kevin Durant (2016): 19.4 Adrian Dantley (1976): 19.3 Charles Barkley (1992): 18.0 Michael Jordan (1984): 17.1
Tim Bontemps: In his postgame interview on NBC, Jayson Tatum said he remembered "being in high school" watching Kevin Durant and Draymond Green win the gold medal in Rio, only to now win one with them in Tokyo. Pretty wild how much things have changed for him over the past five years.
Tim Reynolds: Luka Doncic's 18 assists tonight for Slovenia vs. France were the second-most ever in an Olympic game. Manuel Saenz had 20 for Mexico vs. Japan on July 19, 1976. Now No. 3 on the top-assists list: Some guy named Steve Nash, who had 15 for Canada vs. Australia on Sept. 17, 2000.
“Tonight, our guys were pretty special on him,” Popovich said of Mills. “But he has been special for the Spurs, and he’s moving on to Brooklyn now. And we’ll miss him a great deal. But I think it’s a good move for him, he’ll get to play for a team that’s going to be a contender. And I’m thrilled with the victory, obviously, but when I looked him in the eyes, I felt badly because they do have great camaraderie and great history and culture. And they want it just as badly as any of us. So, that was a little bit sad, but that’s what we all do, right? We all try to win.”
The Australians credited Team USA’s swarming, switching defense. Australian coach Brian Goorjian said “unique to the competition from everybody else we’ve played is their ability to switch 1 through 5.” He said that ability is not only what makes the USA the favorite in this tournament, but also “they’re as good a Team USA team that I’ve played against.” It’s an interesting statement, given that this team has lost three games and Goorjian was coaching in the 2008 Olympics — the year of the “Redeem Team.”
Luka Doncic’s disappointment with Slovenia’s loss to France in the second Olympic Games semifinal was more than obvious in the finale with the Dallas Mavericks superstar also expressing his frustration on his way to the locker room. After the end of the game, Doncic was shouting “FIBA is probably happy” while walking through the media mixed zone per '15min'. He was also reported to shout “FIBA happened” while Slovenia big man Ziga Dimec was being asked questions about the game.
Slovenia had several complaints with the officiating and particularly with a play halfway through the fourth period and the score tied at 78 where Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot blocked Jaka Blazic’s layup attempt. Blazic protested that it was a goaltending violation and he received a technical foul.
“Probably one of the best blocks I’ve seen,” said France center Rudy Gobert — perhaps the best shot-blocker in the world these days. “Being able to grind for 40 minutes and win an Olympic game on that block, it’s just amazing. This is why you play the game. This is why you work hard, why you sacrifice time from your families, to come here and try to accomplish something and be part of those moments.”
Callie Caplan: Luka’s opening statement after Slovenia’s semifinal loss to France: “We might have surprised a lot of people … but we’re not giving up yet.” He’s got ice wrapped around his left wrist after crashing into the courtside plexiglass, but said it’s just precautionary.
Ben Golliver: Slovenia’s Luka Doncic, who received a technical foul and appealed to multiple referees at the buzzer, on whether the officiating impacted last-second loss to France in Olympic semifinals: “No. That’s not a question you ask me.”
FIBA | #Basketball #Tokyo2020: 🗣️ "Nicolas is a class act. He told me he hates playing against me, but in a good way. That was nice of him, he's just a class act." - @luka7doncic 🇸🇮 #Tokyo2020 | #Basketball
The Vertical: Nic Batum's BIG-TIME block to seal France's win 😱 (via @NBCOlympics) pic.twitter.com/PJfOVCX6wt
Jorge Sierra: Luka Doncic loses for the first time with Slovenia in the cruelest manner. A Batum block sends France to the Olympic final. What an epic game.
StatMuse: France hands Luka Doncic his first career loss in international competition. Now 17-1. pic.twitter.com/Uxw1KlQmDz
StatMuse: Luka injured his wrist vs France. He finished with: 16 PTS 10 REB 18 AST It’s the first Olympic triple-double since LeBron James in 2012. pic.twitter.com/kMviBOUICz
Ben Golliver: Gregg Popovich on USA's sacrifices at Tokyo Olympics: "Khris Middleton’s wife gave birth & he came the next day, after the Finals. Those were pretty big sacrifices. More for his wife than for him, now that I think about it. Take the credit away from him & give it to his wife."
Ben Golliver: Australia coach Brian Goorjian after loss to USA in Olympic semifinals: "I've been to three Olympics now, and they're as good as as any Team USA team I've played against. They're right there."
Ben Golliver: Australia coach Brian Goorjian after loss to USA in semifinals & the bronze medal game: "The message is loud & clear: back straight, head back, walk out of here proud. ... We've got something right now in front of us that has never happened in this country & let's get excited."
Ben Golliver: USA's Gregg Popovich on whether he wants to face France or Slovenia for gold: "You really think I'm going to answer that question? How long have you been a reporter? You must be talking to some dumb coaches. I wouldn't touch that with a 10-foot pole. You've got to be kidding."
Rob Schaefer: Final: USA 97, AUS 78 Americans impressively flip 15-point deficit to 19-point victory to earn spot in gold medal game. Zach LaVine played 17 minutes, notched 9 pts, 3 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl. Another good defensive showing with some loud second-half highlights.
This situation never happens — never does the start of free agency coincide with the Olympics. To make it even stranger, Japan is 13 hours ahead of the American East Coast. So when free agency began at 6 p.m. Monday in the States, it was 7 a.m. Tuesday in Japan. Teams cannot talk to players before then, but preliminary discussions with player agents dominate the hours (and days) leading up to the official start of free agency. “This morning I woke up at 3:30, I called my agent, like, ‘You gotta get a deal done right now so I can move on from it,’” Batum said.
As for Batum, 32, he always wanted to rejoin the Clippers, because he said they gave him a fresh start on his career last season. “Of course, the last 48 hours, it’s in your head,” Batum said. “Just this morning for one or two hours (I was on the phone) with my agent, ‘Get a deal done. … OK, we’re good?’ Now I am back to the Olympics. That was a crazy day, for sure.”
Keith Smith: Team USA will play Australia in the Olympics Semifinals. Thursday 8/5 at 12:15 AM ET. Gonna be another late night!
Tim Reynolds: Luis Scola says he didn’t intend to announce his retirement from international basketball today. But he very, very strongly hinted that tonight was the end of the road.
Ben Golliver: Argentina, Australia and a few hundred spectators salute Luis Scola with a standing ovation as he checks out of Olympic quarterfinal. Scola just completed his fifth Olympics at age 41. pic.twitter.com/nxoQgpV0zF
The Americans’ path to a fourth consecutive gold was going to be arduous at best and, more likely, treacherous, which bore out in an Olympics-opening loss to France. And it was there when Team USA fell down by 10 in the second quarter of an elimination game Tuesday to Spain, an aging team that is nevertheless the defending World Cup champions. “We started to panic a little bit,” Draymond Green admitted.
By now, the explanations and excuses are worn. New team. Short training camp. Three players at the NBA Finals. Greater continuity for other countries. COVID-19 took Bradley Beal off the roster. Injuries kept other stars out. The Americans are two wins from overcoming all of it. “As we started to practice a bit more, and going through those losses, we started to understand our roles a bit more and coach started to understand the rotation,” Durant said. “I think you mix all of that in the pot, you start to build a real team. That’s what I feel like we are at this point.”
Ben Golliver: France’s Nicolas Batum on whether Clippers/Mavericks playoff series can help in Olympic semifinals versus Luka Doncic & Slovenia: “We can’t bring Kawhi [Leonard] to the next game. It’s going to be different. This is a different team.”
Gary Washburn: Gobert finishes with a 360 dunk. Don't know if I've ever seen him do that in the NBA. FRA 84, ITA 75 Final. Faces Slovenia on Thursday. #Tokyo2020
Pau, 41, confirmed his retirement on COPE, stating that he will now reflect and assess his future, while he has not decided about retirement yet. He spent the previous season with FC Barcelona. During his time with the senior Spanish NT, he has won 11 medals in three different international competitions, including gold in the 2006 FIBA World Cup and gold at the 2009, 2011 and 2015 EuroBasket.
Ben Golliver: USA’s Kevin Durant after advancing to semifinals of Tokyo Olympics with win over Spain: “We’ve got to finish it. We’re supposed to be here. For us, it’s about getting the gold.”
Kristian Winfield: Kevin Durant said Jayson Tatum could one day break his Olympic scoring record. Tatum: “I’ve got a long way to go… but imma try.”
Casey Holdahl: USA 95, Spain 81: FINAL. 11 points, 4 assists, 4 rebounds for @Damian Lillard. USA now moves on to play the winner of Australia vs. Argentina in a semifinal game that will air at 9:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
Best scoring marks against Team USA at the Olympic Games: Manu Ginobili: 29 points Pau Gasol: 29 points Patrick Mills: 30 points Oscar Schmidt: 31 points Butch Lee: 35 points RICKY RUBIO: 38 points
StatMuse: Ricky Rubio vs USA: 38 PTS 13-20 FG 4-7 3P 8-8 FT He scored 38 of Spain’s 81 points (47%). pic.twitter.com/mhOeJbdiz9
Luka Doncic: Top 4 in the world, a country of 2M people! What a feeling! 🇸🇮🇸🇮🇸🇮❤️❤️❤️ #mislovenci pic.twitter.com/bK0woXuDRT
Gasol, a European and NBA legend, said Spain has a unique opportunity to defeat the Americans and reach the semi-finals. “We have to compete for each possession and believe in ourselves, play smart, limit mistakes. It is a unique opportunity to beat them, to do something very special we have never achieved in the Olympic Games,” Pau Gasol said, via Mundo Deportivo.
Holiday has been arguably the Americans’ top all-around player at the Olympics, averaging 12.3 points, four rebounds, 3.7 assists, and 1.7 steals. He came off the bench in the loss to France (but led the team with 18 points and seven boards) because he’d arrived to Tokyo about a day earlier from the NBA Finals. He’s made winning plays, some show up in the box score and some don’t, and he gives Team USA’s potentially potent offense a facilitator and rugged defender at the other end. “I think (my game) fits,” Holiday said. “I feel like I’m here to assist, I’m here to rebound, I’m here to penetrate and make plays for other people, and then pick up full court and be really aggressive defensively. It’s right in my wheelhouse.”
While big-name stars such as Kawhi Leonard, Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry will be focusing on their futures, some players are trying to keep their eye on the present. That includes Batum, who doesn't have a contract for next season but insists his only concern is his next game. "It's not easy, I mean, from the outside, but for me it's pretty easy,'' Batum said. "I know where I have to focus on.''
Same with Batum, whom LA Clippers president Lawrence Frank said the team hopes to re-sign. The forward said that is being left to his agent. "I have to make sure my team, myself get ready for the next game because that's a big game and the rest will take of itself,'' said Batum, the French captain.
Some players wait a lifetime for the opportunity to cash in the way he's about to. France has also waited a lifetime to win an Olympic gold medal. Fournier has to juggle all that at once. "It's so unfortunate that I'm going to have to give an answer on the day of the quarterfinal,'' he said. "Hopefully, teams are going to be nice and they can understand that I don't want to rush anything and at least I can wait until after the game.''
Tatum is healthy now and is also coming off his best game in a Team USA uniform, with 27 points and five 3s in a 35-point win over the Czech Republic Saturday night. Tatum was terrible in that exhibition win over Spain (3-of-9 shooting) and in the Olympics-opening loss to France (3-of-9 shooting); he scored 17 but was 2-of-7 from 3 in the 54-point win over Iran. “I don’t know,” Tatum said Saturday night, when asked why he thought he’d gotten off to a slow start. “New environment, new basketball, different style of basketball, the rules are different, playing on a new team, it’s a lot of things. But I was never worried, never concerned. I knew that shots would fall eventually and start to feel good about yourself, and then it’s just basketball.”
Spain is much closer in that department and has the discipline to run an offense that could exploit some of Team USA’s defensive switches. Unless Tatum is back to his old self, and the Americans we’ve seen in the last two games are the collective pieces of a set that is not going to suffer another setback. Any more of those, and the gold medal chase is over. These games really count now. “Our confidence never wavered,” Tatum said. “We understood that it wasn’t gonna be easy. We didn’t have our full team until four days ago, five days ago, so we knew that we had a lot of challenges ahead of us. And we also know that we would continue to get better every day, we would get better from each game, each practice, just the more time that we spent together, we were never going to be the same team, from day one, that we are now. And hopefully we’re better this time next week than we were today.”
Ben Golliver: 2020 Tokyo Olympics men's basketball bracket is set. USA will face Spain, the reigning FIBA World Cup champions, in quarterfinals. If USA wins, would face Australia or Argentina in semis. - France vs. Italy - Slovenia vs. Germany --- - USA vs. Spain - Australia vs. Argentina
Brian Mahoney: Argentina coach Sergio Hernandez on Luis Scola: “I think he didn’t stop one day in the last 25 years.”
And there’s actually a runaway No. 1 as far as the club with the most male basketball players participating: Real Madrid, the team that produced a certain Luka Doncic, who just tied the record for second-most points ever scored in an Olympic basketball contest. The storied Spanish club leads the way with eight players taking part in the Olympic Games this summer, followed by Fenerbahce out of the Turkish League, Australia’s Melbourne United, the Miami Heat (the NBA team with most male basketball representatives in Tokyo), Olimpia Milano (Italy) and Union Olimpija (Slovenia), all of whom have four players at the Games.
Brian Lewis: Durant on passing Carmelo: “Its still weird for me to do stuff like this because I play a team sport& I try my hardest to make it about the group. But it is special to do something like that. Scoring is something I’ve worked on my whole career and expanded my whole career.” #nets
The victory assured Team USA second place in their group and a place in the quarterfinals on Tuesday. Their opponent and game time will be determined in a draw Sunday with the only certainty being there cannot be a rematch with France until at least the semifinals. Because of their two blowouts wins the last two games, Team USA will end up with a favorable position and avoid top medal contenders Australia, Spain and potentially even Luka Doncic-led Slovenia in the quarters.
John Karalis: Kevin Durant in a postgame interview is talking about becoming the all-time Team USA leading scorer... as Jayson Tatum walks by Durant says "this guy to the left is going to be the next guy to break the record"
Pau Gasol wasn’t done playing. That was the thought that’s driven him here to these Olympic Games, trying to write the final pages of his career on his terms. “I love the game. I wanted to finish my career playing,” Gasol said after Spain’s Olympic debut. “I had such an incredible and extraordinary career that I didn't want an injury to finish it for me.”
So Gasol is in Tokyo for one last run with the Spanish national team, a group he’s had tremendous success with. He’s enjoying this ride with his brother, Marc, the two men sharing time on the long bus trips back and forth from the basketball venue outside Tokyo. “I'm very happy for him. I'm proud of him. He didn't have to do this,” Marc Gasol said. "You know, he's done everything you can do as a professional athlete. He’s a role model in every level that you can be as a human being and as an athlete. … I don't want to put words in his mouth but he wanted to show himself and everybody that he cares so much about the sport and he wanted to leave it on that note on playing on the court. “So I'm just proud of him. That's it. Just watching him, enjoying every second, every bus ride. ... It's been a lot of fun to watch him do this.”
Joe Vardon: Excellent win for Team USA, given that it trailed by 7 at the end of one quarter. Jayson Tatum scored 27 and Kevin Durant added 23, and USA beat Czech Republic, 119-84, clinching the top No. 2 seed. It means a favorable matchup in the quarterfinals. More to come @The Athletic
December 3, 2021 | 5:09 pm EST Update
Shams Charania: Free agent Wesley Matthews plans to sign a deal with the Bucks, sources tell @TheAthletic @Stadium. The 12-year veteran, who spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers, is set to return to Milwaukee.
Beth Mowins is breaking another barrier. The veteran play-by-play announcer will call Friday’s game between the Atlanta Hawks and Philadelphia 76ers on ESPN alongside color commentator Jeff Van Gundy and sideline reporter Cassidy Hubbarth. In the process, she’ll become the first woman to call play-by-play for a regular-season NBA game on ESPN.
One of the most recognizable Eastern Michigan athletes will be back in Ypsilanti next weekend. Former EMU basketball legend and NBA Hall of Famer George “The Iceman” Gervin will be honored at halftime of the Eagles’ men’s basketball game against Florida International on Saturday, Nov. 11.
December 3, 2021 | 4:56 pm EST Update
Kellan Olson: Devin Booker (left hamstring) and Abdel Nader (right knee) are both out again for the Suns tonight against the Warriors.