Team USA vs. France — Luka’s Olympics run — All Unsigned Team

Friday, Aug 6th, 2021

  The Opening Tip

  • Luka Doncic averaged a triple-double in his first Olympics. 
  • The best of the unsigned players.
  • Japan’s womens’ team has a tall task (pun) in Sunday’s gold medal game.

Tonight's Olympic gold medal game

1. Everything to know ahead of tonight’s gold medal game

So you haven’t been staying up until 1 a.m. to watch Team USA at the Olympics. That’s ok, but we do have one question. 

  • Why do you hate this country? 

Moving on … we have good news. Team USA plays France tonight in the gold medal game and you don’t have to be a total night owl insomniac to watch it. It’s at 10:30 p.m. EST, which is somewhat reasonable.

Here are some things to know ahead of the game.


If you were a sportswriter, what narrative would you roll with?

France beat Team USA in the first game of the qualifying round, 83-76. You know what that means: Revenge!

What’s the spread? Team USA is currently a 12.5-point favorite and -900 on the moneyline. If 12.5 seems high, just remember that our guys covered a 41.5-point spread vs. Iran by 14 points earlier in the tournament.

How’d they get here? 

  • Team USA, down 15 in the first half against Australia in Thursday’s semis, suddenly clicked and ended up winning, 97-78. Kevin Durant had 23. 
  • See section below for France. 

How to watch: It’s finally not exclusively on Peacock, NBC’s boutique streaming service whose only PR push is “WE HAVE THE OFFICE.”

It’s on NBC. You know, like, the channel.

Some guys who will be playing for France: Evan Fournier (don’t google his last name), Rudy Gobert, Nic Batum, inconsequential one-time Celtic Guerschon Yabusele, inconsequential one-time Celtic Vincent Poirier.

Two more things on Team USA:

  1. Kevin Durant is so clearly the best player and leader of this team. It’s nice to watch him in a positive setting. (Calm down, Nets fans.)
  2. Jrue Holiday has been coach Gregg Popovich’s point guard of choice over Damian Lillard, who played only 17 minutes in the semis compared to Holiday’s 29. Watching Holiday harass people on defense throughout the playoffs and now the Olympics has been one of the joys of the summer.

2. Daily GIFBatum saves the day for France

The reason Team USA is playing France tonight and not Luka Doncic is because of this heroic block by Nic Batum to beat Slovenia on Thursday in the other semifinals.

  • Doncic, who was 17-0 with Slovenia before the loss, had 16 points (on 18 shots), 18 assists and 10 rebounds, registering the third triple-double in Olympic history.
  • For his five Olympic games, he averaged 24.2 PPG, 10 RPG and 10 APG. Pretty good!

Slovenia will play Australia in the bronze medal game at 7 a.m. EST on Saturday. Neither team has ever medaled at the Olympics.

3. Trivia time

There’s been only one known triple-double by an American men’s basketball player at the Olympics. Who had it?

Answer at the bottom.

4. The All-Still Free Agents Team

Guards

  • Dennis Schroder … all you optimists who believe in the bet on yourself mentality have some explaining to do. Schroder turned down $84 million from the Lakers in February. He'll be lucky to get a fraction of that now. 
  • Reggie Jackson … he was the Clippers’ third-best player in the 2021 postseason. He’ll get a solid bump from his veteran minimum contract he was playing on wherever he goes. 
(Jackson signed for 3/22 two minutes before we hit send. We're keeping this note in. Sue us.)

Forwards

*Mark Jackson voice*

  • Kawhi Lennit … we’re all pretty sure he’s going back to the Clippers. But no one, under any context, in any situation, actually knows what he’s thinking. 
  • Lauri Markkanen … every team in the league would like to have a seven-footer who shot 40.2 percent from 3 last season. The question is for how much. He’s also a restricted free agent, so the Bulls could match any offer he gets. 

Big man

  • Paul Millsap … he’s 36 and not what he was even two years ago, but some contender (the Nets, probably) will scoop him up as a bench guy. 

Other names: Josh Hart (restricted), Jarred Vanderbilt (restricted), Hamidou Diallo (restricted) James Ennis III. 

5. By the numbers

6-foot-1

The Japan womens' team beat France today, 87-71, to advance to their first Olympic gold medal game in team history. They’ll face Team USA on Sunday in the finals.

Japan’s two tallest players are both 6-foot-1. USA has five players taller than 6-foot-1, including 6-foot-8 Brittney Griner.


17 days

If the Team USA men win tonight, Milwaukee Bucks Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will have won an NBA title and a gold medal within 17 days of each other.

Because of the NBA’s late start and end to the season, such little distance between the two accomplishments will likely never happen again.


4 years, $117 million

After scooping Kemba Walker via a buyout from OKC, the Knicks extended Julius Randle on Thursday for four years and $117 million. Having left some money on the table, Randle is now the only All-NBA guy from last year not on a max contract/contract extension.


4 days

Netflix’s Malice at The Palace documentary comes out in four days, on August 10. Jermaine O’Neal, who executive produced it, has been doing the media rounds lately. Here’s a really interesting conversation about the incident with him on the Ryen Russillo Podcast. (16-minute mark)

[READ: Olympic basketball’s most entertaining team is going for gold]

6.  Quick Hits

  • 🚨 Cool Moment 🚨 Here’s Team Spain watching the NBA Draft and celebrating teammate Usman Garuba being drafted by the Rockets. 
  • New Timberwolves co-owner Alex Rodriguez to The Athletic: “Long term, our vision is Minnesota all the way”
  • Damian Lillard on the Blazers’ free agency: “We wasn’t able to go out there and just get some of the guys that we would have liked”
  • Ben Simmons, who has zero leverage other than being a Klutch client, would like to go to the Warriors, but not Toronto or Portland. 
  • Here’s the full-page ad Kyle Lowry took out in the Toronto Star.

7.  Reads

  • With Mac McClung, goodbye’s going to be the hardest word [Defector]
  • Loyal Russell Westbrook fan tired of buying new jersey, relocating whole family every year [The Onion]

Trivia answer: LeBron (11 points, 14 rebounds, 12 assists), 2012 vs. Australia.


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