WATCH: Team USA’s Damian Lillard Scores a Pull Away Jumper Over Australia’s Nathan Sobey in Tokyo Olympics Semifinals

Published 08/05/2021, 1:34 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Basketball – Men – Group A – France v United States – Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan – July 25, 2021. Kevin Durant of the United States and Damian Lillard of the United States look dejected after the match with teammates REUTERS/Brian Snyder


Team USA posed an unsettling slow start against Team Australia in their Tokyo Olympics Men’s basketball semifinal game. The Aussies were certainly out-hustling the Americans as they played speedy 15 minutes to take an early 15-point lead. 

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The Australian team showed immense intensity and grit as they kept the US from scoring early. One could feel a restlessness in the American bench where coach Gregg Popovich was continually hustling. However, it was Damian Lillard who shot one clean bucket to give them an early sign of a big game and an eventual turnaround.

Damian Lillard and his top-notch shot-making

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At the end of Q1, the US was trailing by more than six points when Damian Lillard converted a picturesque pull away jumper. He shot over Australia’s Nathan Sobey and gave them a crucial point to leave the quarter with a positive mindset.

By the end of two quarters, Team USA successfully cut down their deficit and made it a 3-point game. The Big Game Dame had 5 points in those two quarters along with one rebound and a turnover. That he could not attempt even one three-pointer showed how the Kangaroos were so good at double-teaming him.

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Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum came to the rescue of Team USA

Just when the Australian team were 6/10 from the three-point range, the US team was at a pathetic 0/10. However, that’s when a three-pointer from Devin Booker turned the tides. Soon enough, Jayson Tatum entered the court and dropped his long-range bucket to back the mid-range accuracy of Kevin Durant.

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Prior to that point, it was Kevin Durant against the trio of Dante Exum, Joe Ingles, and Patty Mills. The Americans were extremely good at their perimeter defense for the most part of the game while KD’s men struggled. The duo of Jrue Holiday and Zach LaVine too did not look as good with their turnovers and loss of crucial possessions.

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By halftime, the score was 45-42 in the Australians’ favor. But an 18-0 run from the US side got them to 74-55 lead with just 10 minutes remaining. Who do you think was the best player for US? Help us know in the comments below.

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Sourabh Singh

1626 articles

Sourabh Singh is an NBA sports analyst for EssentiallySports, who has been working with the site since May 2020. Prior to this, he functioned as Managing Editor at WittyFeed, followed by a stint at Decathlon. The Sports Management graduate leads an active lifestyle, veering to the mountains for off-trail adventures.

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