Olympics: US NBA stars rip Serbia 96-66 for third gold in a row

 NBA superstar Kevin Durant of the USA celebrates.
NBA superstar Kevin Durant of the USA celebrates.PHOTO: REUTERS

RIO DE JANEIRO (AFP) - Completing a third consecutive unbeaten run to Olympic gold, the United States captured a sixth Games title with NBA talent in seven tries by routing Serbia 96-66 in Sunday's final.

Kevin Durant scored 30 points while DeMarcus Cousins added 13 points and 15 rebounds as the US squad cruised to a 15th overall men's basketball gold medal, every US player scoring in the romp, in what was the Rio Games' last title decider.

The Americans stretched their Olympic win streak to 25 games and overall decade-long winning run to 76 games in the farewell game for US coach Mike Krzyzewski.

US forward Carmelo Anthony became the first man to win three Olympic basketball gold medals, having played in 2008 and 2012 as well under "Coach K", who will be replaced by San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich.

 

A Serbian team that tested the US squad before falling 94-91 in a group stage game - the closest call in the Americans' Olympic win streak - stayed close for barely a quarter before the NBA playmakers began going wild.

Serbia led 14-11 with 3:12 remaining in the first quarter when the Americans, who opened the game shooting only 5-of-17 from the floor, began what would become a 32-8 run to break open the contest.

Durant had 14 points in the pivotal spurt, including a spectacular steal and fast break slam dunk that brought the loudest roar from USA fans.

For the game, Durant shot 10-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-11 from 3-point range.

Durant, who scored 18 of his 24 first-half points in the second quarter, joins the NBA Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors next season after their record-setting 73-win 2015-16 campaign.

Cousins had 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first half, which ended with the Americans ahead 52-29 and playing like the flamboyant side most expected to see once the roster was named.

In the second half, it was only a matter of settling the final margin and seeing some highlight-reel US moves, notably an alley oop slam dunk by DeMar DeRozan early in the fourth quarter.

Durant and Anthony hugged late in the fourth quarter with the result long decided. The two were the only players back from the 2012 squad, their 10 teammates all Olympic first-timers.

At the finish, the Americans were dancing at mid-court in celebration.

Nemanja Nedovic led Serbia with 14 points.

Spain, which lost to the US team in the past two Olympic finals, edged Australia 89-88 in the bronze medal game.