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Sports

Durant leads Team USA to Olympics knockout stage

Agence France-Presse
Durant leads Team USA to Olympics knockout stage
USA's Kevin Wayne Durant dribbles the ball past Czech Republic's Jaromir Bohacik (L) in the men's preliminary round group A basketball match between USA and Czech Republic during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama on July 31, 2021.
ARIS MESSINIS / AFP

SAITAMA, Japan — 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 quarter-finals.

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.

2021 TOKYO OLYMPICS BASKETBALL
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