Damian Lillard, Team USA Advance To Gold Medal Game With Win Over Australia
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Damian Lillard and Team USA Basketball will play for a gold medal after beating Australia 97-78 in the semifinals on Wednesday night.
In the Team USA win, Damian Lillard dropped five points on 2-of-4 shooting from the floor. Jazz forward Joe Ingles had nine points on 3-for-5 shooting from the field, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc for Australia. Former Jazzman Dante Exum finished with 12 points. The Boomers will play for the bronze medal, facing the loser of Slovenia and France.
Kevin Durant had 23 points, while Devin Booker added 20 points to lead Team USA, who will face the winner of Slovenia and France.
After Kevin Durant hit a deep two-pointer to open the game, Joe Ingles hit back-to-back threes for Australia. The Boomers picked up a big three-pointer in the final seconds to end the first quarter with a 24-18 lead. Team USA missed all six of their three-point attempts in the opening period.
The United States kept trying to knock down threes but were unsuccessful and Australia capitalized with an 8-0 by making deep shots and getting to the basket. Their lead was 41-26 with just over five minutes remaining in the second quarter.
The first three-pointer by the United States came at the three-minute mark of the second quarter. They closed the gap to end the first half trailing by three points. Lillard had five points in nine minutes on the floor. Kevin Durant was keeping Team USA in the game with 15 first half points.
For the Boomers, Ingles had seven points, making just one free throw since scoring the first six points of the game. Dante Exum led them with 10 points in the first half.
The start to the third quarter was all Team USA as Durant scored eight of the first 12 points and they held the Boomers to just two points and had a nine point lead. It ended up being a tremendous third quarter for the United States as they outscored the Boomers 32-10 to take a 74-55 lead into the fourth.
With five minutes left in the game, Australia pulled their starters and threw in the towel.
The gold medal game will be played on Friday, August 6 at 8:30 p.m. MDT.