Australia came out determined to beat Team USA but Kevin Durant didn't let his side lose to the Boomers. Australia took an early 15-point lead against Team USA but Durant then stepped up and led his team to a 97-78 win.
Durant scored a game-high 23 points and also had nine rebounds. "There were a lot of guys on this team that had straight faces and were ready to play when we were down 15 [points], strong faces is what Pop said," said Durant, per ESPN.
"They came out and hit us with a nice haymaker, and we were able to get back up and get that lead back." After Team USA cut the deficit toward the halftime, Durant felt good about their chances. "When you are a great team and you're playing a team who feels that it's going to be tough to beat us, they're going to come out and play their best brand of basketball," Durant said.
"They're going to play perfect basketball, and I felt like that's what they did in that first half, and once we went down three going into halftime, I felt like we had the game in hand."
Devin Booker praised Durant
"[Durant] has been in this situation before, and he's leading us as such," Booker said.
"He's been a great leader for us, and we feed off his energy." "Just keep making it tough," Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo said when asked how the Bucks could try to slow Durant down. During these past NBA playoffs, now NBA champion Giannis Antetokounmpo spoke extremely highly of Durant.
"Obviously one of the best scorers to ever play the game. "It's tough. He's the best player in the world right now, and we've got to beat him as a team. We've got to guard him as a team, and we've got to make him make tough shots, like tonight, and we've just got to keep doing our job, and hopefully he's going to miss.
But we've got to keep doing our job, keep guarding together, keep showing help, keep making it tough, keep picking him up full court. "We have to just keep containing him as much as possible, but at the end of the day, he's done an unbelievable job.
Best player in the world, best scorer in the world. ... There's going to be nights where he's going to do what he did tonight and have 50, and there's going to be nights that we're going to try to contain him as much as possible and give ourselves a chance to be in the game and be in position to win the game."