At various points of the Olympics, the United States men’s basketball team needed Klay Thompson to step up in a big way.
Sunday’s gold medal game was not one of those times: Thompson and Team USA clinched the tournament championship with a total annihilation of Serbia, 96-66.
Klay did end up scoring 12 points, but the fuel for the destruction came from two places: Kevin Durant’s 30 points in 30 minutes and some absolutely suffocating defense. (The latter of which Thompson certainly had a hand in.)
The game was expected to be competitive, given Serbia’s three-point loss to the Americans in the preliminary round. And it was, early: The game was tied at 14 with just over a minute to go in the first quarter, although Team USA was able to score on the next couple of possessions to take a four-point lead.
That’s when the KD show took over, as USA went on a 24-7 run to begin the second quarter and extend the lead to 44-23. From there, the rout was on. Here it is, visually:
Our favorite jaw-dropping stat to come out of the game? Team USA was a ridiculous plus-38 when Durant was on the floor.
In the tournament, Klay ended up averaging 9.9 points, 2.5 rebounds and 1.6 assists. But the only “stat” that matters now is this one: Klay Thompson is an Olympic gold medalist.
Things didn’t go as well for the Australians, as WSU alumni Aron Baynes and Brock Motum narrowly missed out on bronze medals after an 89-88 loss to Spain.
Baynes was very nearly the hero for the Boomers, making a baseline jumper with two minutes remaining to put Australia up 82-81, then he hit a little jump hook in the lane with nine seconds to go to give the Aussies an 88-87 lead.
But a controversial foul call on the ensuing possession led to a pair of made free throws for Spain:
The Australians did get one final possession to try and win the game, but they failed to get off the shot after Spain disrupted a handoff pass on the perimeter, send the ball bouncing out to midcourt.
Besides the play of Baynes down the stretch, one of the reasons Australia was in position to win the game was a huge contribution from Motum, who was forced into action thanks to Andrew Bogut fouling out in just 14 minutes. Motum scored 10 points — including a monster dunk over Pau Gasol to tie the game in the fourth quarter — and grabbed four rebounds in the second half, although he somewhat inexplicably spent the final five minutes or so on the bench.
Motum finished with 12 points, six rebounds, and an assist, block and steal in 16 minutes. Baynes finished with six points and four rebounds in 23 minutes.
In the tournament, Baynes averaged 9.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and 1.6 assists, while Motum averaged 7 points and 2.3 rebounds.