Team USA is officially through to the knockout rounds with a dominant win against the Czech Republic by a score of 119-84. Celtics superstar, Jayson Tatum, led all scorers with 27 points, including 21 in the second half on 10-for-16 shooting.
It was also a historic night in Tokyo for Kevin Durant. He passed Carmelo Anthony to become the all-time leading scorer for the U.S. team. Durant played a complete, all-around game and scored 23 points on 8-for-11 shooting.
The Czech’s gave USA a tough time in the first half, especially in the post. The size and physicality of their bigs led to easy buckets inside or to open, kick-out three pointers. The third quarter proved to be decisive, as Team USA outscored the Czechs 35-17 and never looked back.
Kevin Durant spent most of the game keeping USA afloat before someone else stepped up. That someone was none other than the Celtics own, Jayson Tatum.
Tatum had a slow first half but came out firing in the second. There was a noticeable change in his intensity after converting a tough and-one layup in the third quarter. From them on, he shot the lights out for the rest of the game, including a stretch a four straight threes, and helped see USA through to the quarter-finals.
Durant had high praise for Tatum following the win, when asked about his new scoring record.
“This guy to the left is going to be the next guy to break the record,” Durant said.
It would be quite the accomplishment for JT to overtake the record the most gifted scorer in NBA history and he’ll have plenty of opportunities to do so in the years to come.
Tatum and Team USA await the draw on August 2nd to determine their next opponent.
(Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)