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Rio 2016: Kevin Durant Stars as US Takes Basketball Gold

The US swept aside Serbia 96-66 Sunday to claim its third straight Olympic men’s basketball crown, and the final gold medal of Rio 2016.

Victory was never in doubt after a dominant second quarter, inspired by Kevin Durant, which saw the Americans pull 23 points clear at halftime.

Durant finished with 30 points, 18 in the second quarter with four three-pointers, as the US made it 53 straight wins in Olympic competition.

Serbia had troubled the team of NBA stars in their group-stage clash, losing 94-91 after missing a three-pointer on the buzzer, but it could not repeat that in the gold medal match.

The US, missing such greats as LeBron James and Steph Curry, reserved its best for last, having come under criticism for previous lackluster displays.

But all that was forgotten as the Mike Krzyzewski-coached team completed the US medal tally in Rio, its 46th gold to comfortably top the table from Great Britain.

Durant, who has recently switched from Oklahoma City Thunder to NBA finalist Golden State Warriors, took the game by the scruff of the neck after an untidy first quarter.

He drained a succession of three-pointers and a spectacular dunk to settle any nerves that might have existed for the hot favorites.

Durant’s teammate, Carmelo Anthony of the New York Knicks, made his own piece of Olympic history with the victory, becoming the first US basketballer to win three gold medals.

Anthony also won bronze at the 2004 Games in Athens, where the US suffered its last defeat in Olympic competition, losing to Argentina in the semifinals.

Spain, which restricted the US to an 82-76 victory in the semifinals, beat Australia 89-88 in a controversial finish to the bronze medal match.

A disputed call gave Sergio Rodriguez the chance to score two from the free-throw line with five seconds remaining, as Spain trailed by a point.