Tokyo Olympics

Record-setting Durant, Team USA crush Czech Republic to reach Olympic quarterfinals

Delfin Dioquino
Record-setting Durant, Team USA crush Czech Republic to reach Olympic quarterfinals

LEADING SCORER. Kevin Durant toys with the Czech Republic defense as he makes Team USA history.

Brian Snyder/Reuters

Kevin Durant becomes the United States' all-time Olympic scoring leader as Team USA books its quarterfinal ticket in the Tokyo Games men's basketball tournament

Kevin Durant owned a piece of Team USA history as they clinched a quarterfinals berth in the Tokyo Olympics men’s basketball tournament following a 119-84 blowout of Czech Republic on Saturday, July 31.

Durant became the United States’ all-time Olympic scoring leader after firing 23 points on top of 8 rebounds and 6 assists to lead the Americans to their second straight Olympic victory and a spot in the final eight.

Needing just 6 points to surpass previous record holder Carmelo Anthony (336 points), Durant eclipsed the mark in the second quarter as he led the United States’ fightback from a double-digit hole.

Team USA trailed 9-19 in the opening period before it slowly chiseled away at its deficit, finally taking the lead at 34-33 off a Durant triple, which catapulted him past Anthony for the mark.

Durant now has 354 points throughout his Olympic career.

The Brooklyn Nets star continued to wax hot in the middle periods, and by the time the Americans entered the final salvo, their advantage already swelled to 22 points.

Jayson Tatum also starred for Team USA with 27 points on 10-of-16 shooting, while Zach LaVine finished with 13 points and 5 assists.

Jrue Holiday and Javale McGee made their presence felt in the win with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Team USA finished the preliminary round with a 2-1 card to finish at second place in Group A, losing only to France, which clinched the top spot in the bunch with a 3-0 card.

“We’re all just trying to figure each other out. This is literally our third game with all of us together,” said Holiday, who plays for the NBA champion Milwaukee Bucks. “But we knew KD would come in and do what he always does.”

Blake Schilb led the Czechs with 17 points and 5 rebounds, Ondrej Balvin had 15 points, while Tomas Satoransky churned out 12 points, 8 assists, and 6 rebounds in the loss.

With only the top two teams from each of the three groups advancing directly to the last eight, Czech Republic can still qualify for the quarterfinals if it ends up as one of the two best third-place teams.

The Scores

USA 119 – Tatum 27, Durant 23, LaVine 13, Holiday 11, McGee 10, Middleton 8, Lillard 8, Green 8, Adebayo 6, Booker 5, Johnson 0, Grant 0. 

Czech Republic 84 – Schilb 17, Balvin 15, Vesely 13, Satoransky 12, Jelinek 7, Palyza 7, Auda 6, Sehnal 5, Bohacik 2, Vyoral 0, Sirina 0, Peterka 0. 

Quarters: 18-25, 47-43, 82-60, 119-84.


Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.