26.07.2021 Europe

Olympics Day 3: France routs US basketball champions, Britain takes diving gold

By David Roe with RFI
AP - Eric Gay
LISTEN JUL 26, 2021
AP - Eric Gay

France routed a USA basketball team led by 11-time NBA All-Star Kevin Durant 83-76 by France on Sunday, snapping an Olympic winning streak stretching back to the 2004 Athens Games. 

France, with a team containing NBA players including Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, limited Durant to just 10 points in the first-round game. 

Durant sat out most of the third quarter with foul trouble and when it mattered, he was unable to inspire his team as the French came from behind to take control in the final quarter as the Americans missed their final nine shots. 

The USA had looked unconvincing in the build-up to Tokyo and the defeat will underline the fears Durant expressed before the Games that his side will not face a "cakewalk" in Japan. 

Fournier top-scored with 28 points for France. Although the Boston Celtics player only made four from 12 from beyond the three-point line, he found his range when it mattered to help the French stun the Americans. 

"I tried to be aggressive. As an NBA player I know the players we were facing. We had to show the team how to attack them," Fournier said. 

France clawed back a 10-point deficit to set up a breathless final quarter and as the Americans failed to find any rhythm, the French smelled victory in Saitama, where spectators were absent because of coronavirus measures. 

Fournier's three-pointer with 57 seconds remaining put his team ahead 76-74 and when Durant hit the rim with a three-point attempt the French closed out the game with a succession of free throws. 

When Jayson Tatum fouled Nicolas Batum, the French veteran NBA forward hit both free throws from the line to seal victory. 

Gobert played down the significance of the win. 
"I mean it's great, but until we have what we want to have around our neck, it doesn't really matter," the Utah Jazz player said. 

"Every single guy that came in the game brought us something," he added. 

"It's really the team that we want to be and it's exciting for the rest of the tournament." 

The USA face Iran in their next game on Wednesday when France take on the Czech Republic. 

►France lands first gold after successful Olympics opening weekend

►Judoka Luka Mkheidze takes first medal for France

►Olympics Day 2:Tunisia takes swimming gold, surfing, skateboarding are officially Olympic sports

British gold
Elsewhere, Britain's Tom Daley and Matty Lee edged out hot favourites China to win gold in the synchronised 10m platform diving at the Tokyo Olympics on Monday. 

 Daley, 27, in what could be his final Olympics, wiped away tears on the podium as he finally added gold to the bronzes he won at the London 2012 and Rio 2016 Games. 

US pool stars
In the pool , US swimming star Caeleb Dressel kicked off his bid for up to seven Olympic titles with his first gold medal of the Tokyo Games Monday, spearheading the United States to the 4x100m relay crown. 

 The 24-year-old limbered up for his three individual events with a powerful 47.26sec opening leg to set up his team-mates, who brought it home in the third-fastest time ever. 

Dutch quarantine
Meanwhile, Dutch tennis players Jean-Julien Rojer and Wesley Koolhof have pulled out of the Olympic men's doubles tournament after Rojer tested positive for coronavirus, the International Tennis Federation announced on Monday. 

"The ITF has been informed that the athlete Jean-Julien Rojer... has tested positive for Covid-19 and placed in isolation as per the set procedures," the federation said in a statement. 

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