SAITAMA, Japan (AFP) ‒ Kevin Durant and Jayson Tatum turned on the style as the US men’s basketball team eventually shook off the Czech Republic to win 119-84 to reach the Olympic knockout phase Saturday.
Boston Celtics star Tatum scored 27 points and Brooklyn Nets forward Durant hit 23 points in a win that sent Gregg Popovich’s team into the quarterfinals.
The combative Czechs were just four points behind at half-time in Saitama, but Durant upped the tempo in the second half.
During the game Durant took two records from Carmelo Anthony, becoming both the US Olympic men’s all-time points and all-time field goals leader.
Having lost their opening game to France — the first US men’s basketball loss at an Olympics since Athens in 2004 — the victory against the Czechs guaranteed that the Americans will avoid any of the three group winners until at least the semi-finals.
They finished second behind France in Group A after the French eased past Iran 79-62 to seal top spot.
The draw for the quarter-final stage will be made on Sunday.