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Record breaker Durant helps US to KO round at Tokyo Olympics

TOKYO, JAPAN - JULY 31: Kevin Durant #7 of the USA Men's National Team shoots a three point basket during the game against the Czech Republic Men's National Team during the 2020 Tokyo Olympics on July 31, 2021 at the Super Saitama Arena in Tokyo, Japan. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2021 NBAE Stephen Gosling/NBAE via Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Stephen Gosling / NBAE / Getty Images / Getty Images via AFP)
Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum hi-five as Team USA celebrates its win over the Czech Republic. (AFP)

SAITAMA, Japan (AFP) ‒ Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum turned on the style as the US men’s basketball team eventually shook off the Czech Republic to win 119-84 to reach the Olympic knockout phase Saturday.

Boston Celtics star Tatum scored 27 points and Brooklyn Nets forward Durant hit 23 points in a win that sent Gregg Popovich’s team into the quarterfinals.

The combative Czechs were just four points behind at half-time in Saitama, but Durant upped the tempo in the second half.

During the game Durant took two records from Carmelo Anthony, becoming both the US Olympic men’s all-time points and all-time field goals leader.

Having lost their opening game to France — the first US men’s basketball loss at an Olympics since Athens in 2004 — the victory against the Czechs guaranteed that the Americans will avoid any of the three group winners until at least the semi-finals.

They finished second behind France in Group A after the French eased past Iran 79-62 to seal top spot.

The draw for the quarter-final stage will be made on Sunday.

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Written by Tempo Desk

Tempo 01 August 2021, Sunday issue

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