RIO DE JANEIRO, Aug. 21 (Xinhua) -- Team USA won its third consecutive Olympic gold medal when it beat Serbia 96-66 in the men's basketball tournament at the Rio Olympics on Sunday.
This was the last gold medal of Rio 2016 and the 25th Olympic victory of Team USA, which also had perfect 8-0 records in 2008 Beijing and 2012 London.
"Coming to win the gold despite what the media say about this group - not talented, not point the team out. We're here to do we've got to do and we came here to get it to go," U.S. guard Paul George said.
The U.S. beat Serbia 94-91 in the preliminary round, but proved it was a different story when the gold medal was at stake.
"We played a great game today. It was a total team effort. Everybody knew what was at stake. We only beat these guys by three last time. We just raised the level of intensity and it was a great game," Clay Thompson said.
An organized Serbian team produced enough trouble for the U.S., as they did in the previous encounter, when the lead was exchanged five times and the game was tied four times in the first quarter.
But solid defence of the Americans shattered the confidence of the Europeans, who were hammered on one-on-one situation. The U.S. used a 24-7 run, initiated by Kevin Durant who scored 18 points in the second quarter, to take a comfortable lead on 43-22.
Serbia, which missed the 2008 and 2012 Games, never found their rhythm of typical teamwork as the game was more like an NBA one.
This was the first Olympic medal for Serbia since 1996 Atlanta Games, when the then Yugoslavia won the silver medal after losing to the U.S..
Serbia's head coach Sasha Djordjevic, who was a member of the Yugoslavian Olympic team in 1996, said, "I'm proud of both of them (silver medals), but I lost both games."
"The U.S. coaching staff may be the best in the world, so some of our guns were not loaded as in the first game. We didn't move the ball well, and had no reaction as we did. Obviously we had a championship ahead. They did a great job," Djordjevic said.
The U.S. led 52-29 after two quarters, 79-43 after three before they won another one-sided game. The Americans averaged a 22.5-point winning margin in the tournament.
Durant had a game-high 30 points while DeMarcus Cousins had 13 points and 15 rebounds for the U.S..
The U.S. beat Serbia on the board by 54-33 and led by as many as 41 points.