Harden to join Durant at Tokyo Olympics but no Curry for Team USA

By Sports Desk June 21, 2021

James Harden has followed Brooklyn Nets team-mate Kevin Durant in committing to play for Team USA at the Tokyo Games, according to reports.

The United States team is taking shape as they prepare to defend their gold medal at the delayed 2021 Olympics.

Reports at the weekend detailed the expectation Durant would join the team after the Nets exited the NBA playoffs.

Durant was on the victorious USA teams in 2012 and 2016 and this year averaged 26.9 points per game in the regular season and 34.3 in the postseason – the 25th-best mark of all time.

The 2014 MVP will not be the only Brooklyn player on the Olympic team, according to The Athletic.

A hamstring injury limited Harden to 36 regular season games for the Nets following his trade from the Houston Rockets, before he played nine times in the playoffs, scoring an underwhelming 20.2 points per game.

Harden went to London in 2012 after his final season as a bench scorer for the Oklahoma City Thunder but not to Brazil four years later having established himself in Houston.

 

Golden State Warriors great Stephen Curry was involved on neither occasion – although he won the World Cup in 2010 and 2014 – and will not make his Olympic bow this year either, the report added.

Curry almost single-handedly carried the undermanned Warriors to the brink of the playoffs this year, taking the NBA scoring title with 32.0 points per game.

Donovan Mitchell, who struggled with an injury as the Utah Jazz lost to the Los Angeles Clippers, has also declined an invite, ESPN revealed.

Bam Adebayo, the Miami Heat center, will join the 12-man roster, though, aiming to bounce back from a playoff sweep at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks in which he scored just nine points on four-of-15 shooting in Game 1.

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  • Brook: England out to give the USA 'a good battering' Brook: England out to give the USA 'a good battering'

    Harry Brook says England are out to give the United States "a good battering" in Sunday's T20 World Cup contest as they bid to clinch a place in the last four.

    Having beaten West Indies and lost to South Africa thus far in the Super 8s, England can all but secure a semi-final berth with a convincing win over the co-hosts in Barbados.

    A good run-rate could prove pivotal in Group 2, where there is a chance of England, South Africa and West Indies all finishing on four points.

    With that in mind, Brook has backed Jos Buttler's team to go on the offensive, saying: "We've got to win and then obviously see how we are on net run-rate but the main thing is to definitely get that win.

    "We've played in Barbados quite a lot in the past six months so we know the conditions, we know the wind and the pitch as well so hopefully we can go out there and give them a good battering.

    "I haven't actually seen them play, just a few highlights here and there of their bowlers, but we'll do our analysis and have a proper look to make sure we're ready for the game."

    Net run-rate was the only thing that helped England survive the group stage, as they narrowly edged out Scotland to finish second behind Australia.

    "We've been there before," Brook added. "We've got to concentrate on winning it first and then we'll have a chat and see what the run-rate says."

  • Hope on fire as West Indies thrash fellow T20 World Cup hosts USA Hope on fire as West Indies thrash fellow T20 World Cup hosts USA

    West Indies hammered their fellow T20 World Cup hosts the United States by nine wickets to put themselves in the driving seat for a semi-final spot.

    Having lost their opening Super 8s match to England, the Windies bounced back in style in Barbados on Friday.

    Shai Hope's unbeaten 82, which came from 39 balls and included eight sixes, three of which came on the bounce, saw West Indies surpass the target of just 129 within 11 overs.

    Hope was recalled to the team after an injury to Brandon King, but will be a tough drop for Rovman Powell now.

    The USA had made a promising start, but slipped from 51-1 to 65-4 in the space of three overs, with Andre Russell the pick of the Windies' bowlers (3-31).

    They were skittled out for 128, with Hope, Johnson Charles (15) and Nicholas Pooran (27 not out) wasting little time in securing a margin of victory that sends West Indies above England in Group 2, while their net run rate is also superior to South Africa's.

    The Proteas are West Indies' final opponents, while defending champions England face the USA in their last Super 8s match.

    Data Debrief: Windies in fine fettle

    West Indies have now won nine of their 11 T20Is in 2024, after winning eight games in each of 2022 and 2023.

    Their tally of victories this year matches 2021 as their best effort in a single calendar year.

    They have also won five of their last seven T20Is at Kensington Oval, and their last three in a row.

  • United States v Bolivia: Knockout victory will measure success, claims Adams United States v Bolivia: Knockout victory will measure success, claims Adams

    Tyler Adams believes winning a knockout match is the real measure of success for the United States at the Copa America.

    The USA are the host nation of the 2024 Copa America, and they kick-start their campaign against Bolivia on Sunday.

    Gregg Berhalter's team will also face Panama and Uruguay in Group C, which they are predicted to progress from in second place, according to Opta's supercomputer.

    And while taking nothing for granted ahead of facing the tournament's worst-ranked team, Adams believes a true litmus test for the USA would be progressing beyond the quarter-finals.

    "For me, it's getting past the quarter-final," said Adams.

    "We need to – in a pressure situation – win in a knockout. That's going to measure a lot of our success."

    Defender Mark McKenzie added: "When you talk about some of the most watched games, I think aside from the World Cup, you look at the Copa America.

    "You talk about countries that have won multiple World Cups, in Uruguay and Argentina and Brazil.

    "You have the opportunity now to step into this tournament and go head-to-head with them. Ultimately, it's usually a South American tournament and now we have the opportunity to play against them."

    Carlos Zago won the Copa America with Brazil in 1999, and the Bolivia head coach is out to cause an upset at the AT&T Stadium.

    "The most important thing is for us to compete," Zago said.

    "We have to try to play on an equal footing with the big teams in terms of intensity and physicality."

    Bournemouth midfielder Adams also made a bullish statement in regards to his own ability.

    "When I'm healthy and playing consistently, I'm one of the best midfielders at what I do in the world," he said, as reported by the Daily Mail.

    "I'm not a politician, I don't need to persuade anyone."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    United States - Christian Pulisic

    Pulisic, who will captain the Stars and Stripes at this tournament, is their chief playmaker and also a potent goal threat.

    Indeed, he is coming off his best season in terms of goals scored at club level, having netted 15 times for Milan in 2023-24.

    Bolivia - Carlos Lampe

    Carlos Lampe (nine) is two matches away from equalling Arturo Lopez (11) for the third-most appearances among goalkeepers for Bolivia in the Copa America.

    Only Eduardo Gutierrez (12) and Vicente Arraya (20) have played more matches in goal for Bolivia in the competition.

    MATCH PREDICTION: UNITED STATES WIN

    The USA and Bolivia have faced each other only once in the Copa America, and it was a victory for the South American team, 1-0 at Estadio Parque Artigas in Uruguay during the group stage of the 1995 edition, thanks to a goal by Marco Etcheverry.

    However, the USA are backed to win this time, even though CONMEBOL teams have won eight of the last 10 matches against the Stars and Stripes in the Copa America, including the two most recent: Argentina 4-0 USA (semifinals in 2016) and Colombia 1-0 USA (third-place match in 2016).

    Bolivia will seek a win against a CONCACAF opponent in the competition for the first time since the 1997 edition when they defeated Mexico 3-1 in the semi-finals of the tournament they hosted.

    Expect Bolivia to go long more often than not. So far in the South American Qualifiers for the 2026 World Cup, Bolivia (along with Paraguay) have the highest average passing distance (20.5 meters).

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    USA - 58%

    Bolivia - 21%

    Draw - 21%

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