Team USA booked their place in a fourth successive men’s Olympic basketball final as they recovered from a 15-point deficit in the second quarter to beat Australia 97-78.
Kevin Durant scored 23 points at the Saitama Super Arena as Team USA outscored Australia 55-33 in the second half to put themselves within one victory of a 16th gold medal.
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Devin Booker contributed 20 points while Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton both scored 11 for Team USA.
Patty Mills top-scored for Australia with 15 points, while Dante Exum finished with 14 from the bench.
Team USA will play the winner of the second semi-final between France and Slovenia for the gold medal on Saturday, while Australia can still finish their Games with a bronze.
Australia went into the men’s semi-final having beaten the USA in each of their previous two meetings, including an exhibition win in Las Vegas last month.
The Boomers started in confident mood and Joe Ingles set the tone for an impressive first-half display with two three-pointers in the opening minute to give his side a 6-2 lead.
Patty Mills and Dante Exum were integral to Australia’s game plan as the Boomers ended the first quarter with a 24-18 advantage thanks to a late Chris Goulding three.
Goulding hit another from downtown early in the second quarter to stretch the Australian advantage to seven points.
The Boomers appeared to be cruising with just over five minutes of the half remaining, when Exum found Jack Landale for an alley-oop that gave the Boomers a 41-26 lead.
But the USA found their rhythm at the end of the half and went into the break on a 16-4 scoring streak to narrow their deficit to just three points at the interval.
The USA maintained that form into the third quarter as two Jrue Holiday jump shots gave the defending champions a 46-45 lead.
Durant then hit eight straight points to stretch the American advantage, while Devin Booker outscored Australia on his own in the third quarter to help his side build a 74-55 lead with 10 minutes to go.
Team USA now had a decisive lead but they kept up the pressure offensively to make sure of their place in the gold medal match.
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