Tokyo Olympics: Team USA reach basketball final, seventh straight gold in sight

By Sports Desk August 06, 2021

Breanna Stewart said it would be an "insane" achievement for Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi to reach five Olympic gold medals after Team USA reached the Tokyo 2020 basketball final.

A comfortable 79-59 win over Serbia carried coach Dawn Staley's team through to Sunday's title match.

The USA will be chasing a seventh consecutive gold and a 55th successive Olympic game win, with Bird and Taurasi the longest serving players on the current roster.

Bird and Taurasi have been on the team since the Athens Games in 2004, with Stewart a relative newcomer after first being called up for Rio 2016.

"Sue and D, what they've done for USA basketball is extremely special," Stewart said.

"The fact that they're going for five straight golds is insane and I think for the rest of us as players, we want to make sure we put them in the best possible position to get that gold."

There could be a basketball double for the USA in Japan, with the men through to a title game against France on Saturday.

The women's team have surpassed the Olympic achievements of their male counterparts in this century.

The men managed only bronze in Athens but have won the three Olympic tournaments since, while the women last failed to gain gold in 1992 at Barcelona.

Bird, 40, and Taurasi, 39, might not have long left as active Olympians, but they are passing their knowledge on to the younger generation.

Yet for everyone representing the US, this is a stressful time, given that anything less than the gold medal would be written off by many as failure.

Stewart said: "I think that right now there's so much pressure that it's seven straight overall that you get lost in what's actually happening and enjoying being at the Olympics, being on the court and competing every single day.

"This is exactly where we want to be, so now everything is on the line. We're going to do what we can to make sure that we come home with a gold."

Related items

  • 'He's just been in attack mode' – Davis lauds in-form Lakers star Westbrook 'He's just been in attack mode' – Davis lauds in-form Lakers star Westbrook

    Anthony Davis says Russell Westbrook's aggression has been key to his return to form for the Los Angeles Lakers.

    Westbrook, a Los Angeles native, signed for his hometown team ahead of the 2021-22 season, having spent last campaign with the Washington Wizards.

    The nine-time All-Star struggled at the start of his Lakers career, but is averaging 23.5 points, 8.9 assists and 6.9 rebounds across the past eight games.

    He turned in a star performance on Tuesday as the Lakers claimed a convincing 117-102 victory over rivals the Boston Celtics.

    Westbrook accumulated 24 points and provided 11 assists, and only Davis (24.1) and LeBron James (25.9) are averaging more points per game this season for the Lakers than the 33-year-old (20.4).

    "I think at the beginning of the year, Russ was a little bit passive," Davis said, as reported by ESPN.

    "He was trying to get guys involved, pass the ball. We told him, 'The more you're aggressive, the more it will open up for everyone else.'

    "The last seven to 10 games, he's been very, very aggressive, and when he does that, it opens up the floor for everyone else as far as shooting.

    "He's just been in attack mode. That's why we brought him here, to be Russell Westbrook and not anybody else but that."

    Westbrook is well aware of the storied rivalry with the Celtics, given his Los Angeles upbringing.

    "As a player like myself, you want to make sure you approach all games the same while also understanding the significance of this particular game," Westbrook said.

    "That makes it a good win for us."

    The Lakers are sixth in the Western Conference with a 13-12 record, while the Celtics (also 13-12) sit 10th in the East.

    "We're disappointed as far as we were outhustled, out-toughed a little bit," Boston coach Ime Udoka said.

    "It hasn't happened in a long time. They would put their head down, get to the basket and get whatever they wanted. We're better than that defensively, but a lack of effort and a lack of toughness showed tonight."

  • Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum diagnosed with collapsed lung Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum diagnosed with collapsed lung

    The Portland Trail Blazers have revealed CJ McCollum suffered a collapsed right clunk in a defeat to the Boston Celtics last weekend.

    McCollum was injured in the final quarter of an emphatic 145-117 loss at the hands of the Celtics on Saturday.

    The guard missed a 102-90 defeat to the Los Angeles Clippers on Monday and a scan revealed the extent of the damage done.

    Portland stated that McCollum, who is averaging 20.5 points, 4.1 rebounds and 4.5 assists this season, will be out indefinitely.

    The 30-year-old joins All-Star Damian Lillard (abdominal injury), Anfernee Simons and Nassir Little (both ankle) on the sidelines.  

    Portland also lost guard Ben McLemore to a hip injury during the defeat to the Clippers, while center Cody Zeller is struggling with a bruised right quad.

  • Nets rally to avoid back-to-back losses behind Harden and Durant, LeBron follows in MJ's footsteps Nets rally to avoid back-to-back losses behind Harden and Durant, LeBron follows in MJ's footsteps

    The Eastern Conference-leading Brooklyn Nets overturned a double-digit deficit to top the slumping Dallas Mavericks 102-99 in the NBA.

    Dallas led by 17 points in the third quarter on Tuesday before the Nets rallied behind superstar pair James Harden and Kevin Durant.

    Harden put up 23 points and 12 assists, while Durant posted 24 points to help the Nets avoid back-to-back defeats, having squandered a double-digit advantage against the Chicago Bulls.

    Brooklyn have now won six straight road games. Entering the contest, they owned an 8-2 (80.0) record away from home this season – the franchise's best road record through 10 games all-time, according to Stats Perform.

    The result condemned Luka Doncic's Mavericks to a fifth successive home defeat, while Dallas have dropped eight of their past 10 games.

    Mavericks star Doncic finished with 28 points, nine assists and six rebounds.

     

    Lakers take down Celtics

    The Los Angeles Lakers' big three all starred in a 117-102 victory over the Boston Celtics. LeBron James had a team-high 30 points, Russell Westbrook had 24 points and 11 assists, and Anthony Davis scored 17 points to go with 16 rebounds. James has tallied 155 points in his last five games. According to Stats Perform, the only other player in NBA history to score that many points over a five-game span aged 36 or older is Michael Jordan.

     

    Another off night for Randle

    While the New York Knicks beat the San Antonio Spurs 121-109, All-Star Julius Randle endured another rough outing. Often the instigator for the Knicks, Randle made just five of his 12 shots from the field for 15 points in 35 minutes. Knicks team-mate Evan Fournier was three-of-eight shooting in a seven-point performance.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.