Skip directly to Matchups to just read about each matchup this weekend:
Olympic favorites going into the Medal Games:
Gold Medal Final Teams:
1. USA: 4-1 (9 Points): +115 PD; 507 PF 392 PA; Loss to #7 France 76-83 and wins over #23 IR Iran 120-66, #12 Czech Republic 119-84, #2 Spain 95-81 in the Olympics Quarter-finals, and #3 Australia 97-78 in the Olympic Semi-finals.
2. France: 5-0 (10 Points): +54 PD; 433 PF 379 PA; Wins over #1 USA 83-76, #12 Czech Republic 97-77, #23 IR Iran 79-62, #10 Italy 84-75 in the Olympic Quarter-finals, and #16 Slovenia 90-89 in the Olympic Semi-finals.
Eliminated from Semi-final, with Bronze medal game left:
3. Slovenia: 4-1 (9 Points): +84 PD; 512 PF 428 PA; Wins over #4 Argentina 118-100, #42 Japan 116-81, #2 Spain 95-87, and #17 Germany 94-70 in the Olympic Quarter-finals, and a loss to #7 France 89-90 in the Olympic Semi-finals.
4. Australia: 4-1 (9 Points): +52 PD; 434 PF 382 PA; Wins over #22 Nigeria 84-65, #10 Italy 86-83, #17 Germany 89-76, and #4 Argentina 97-59 in the Olympic Quarter-finals, and a loss to #1 USA 78-97 in the Olympic Semi-finals.
Eliminated from Quarter-finals:
5. Italy: 2-2 (6 Points): +7 PD; 330 PF 323 PA; A win over #17 Germany 92-82, a loss to #3 Australia 83-86, a win over #22 Nigeria 80-71, and a loss to #7 France 75-84 in the Olympic Quarter-finals.
6. Spain: 2-2 (6 Points): -1 PD; 337 PF 338 PA; Wins over #42 Japan 88-77 and #4 Argentina 81-71, and losses to #16 Slovenia 87-95 and #1 USA 81-95 in the Olympic Quarter-finals.
7. Germany: 1-3 (5 Points): -40 PD; 327 PF 367 PA; Loss to #10 Italy 82-92, win over #22 Nigeria 99-92, and losses to #3 Australia 76-89 and #16 Slovenia 70-94 in the Olympic Quarter-finals.
8. Argentina: 1-3 (5 Points): -46 PD; 325 PF 373 PA; Losses to #16 Slovenia 100-118 and #2 Spain 71-81, a win over #42 Japan 97-77, and a loss #3 Australia 59-97 in the Olympic Quarter-finals.
Eliminated from Group Stage:
9. Nigeria: 0-3 (3 Points): -33 PD; 230 PF 263 PA; Losses to #3 Australia 65-84, #17 Germany 92-99, and #10 Italy 71-80.
10. Czech Republic: 1-2 (4 Points): -49 PD; 245 PF 294 PA; Win over #23 IR Iran 84-78, and losses to #7 France 77-97, and #1 USA 84-119.
11. Japan: 0-3 (3 Points): -66 PD; 235 PF 301 PA; Losses to #2 Spain 77-88, #16 Slovenia 81-116, and #4 Argentina 77-97.
12. IR Iran: 0-3 (3 Points): -77 PD; 206 PF 283 PA; Losses to #12 Czech Republic 78-84, #1 USA 66-120, and #7 France 62-79.
Official Rankings thus far: 1. France, 2. USA, 3. Slovenia, 4. Australia, 5. Italy, 6. Spain, 7. Germany, 8. Argentina, 9. Czech Republic, 10. Nigeria, 11. Japan, 12. IR Iran.
For more information on teams 5-12, check: https://kindertruthandhonesty.com/2021/08/01/olympic-favorites-going-into-the-quarter-finals/
- The USA has to be #1 after their dominant performance over #3 Australia, 97-78. The USA had extra help for Kevin Durant from star player Devin Booker. With all the players Team USA has, they are the most deep team and are finally showing it. Their win against #2 Spain was the turning point, in a convincing second half display as the final score was a comfortable 95-81 victory. And, again against the Aussies, the USA had another big second half performance. Furthermore, in both second quarters, the USA had big runs to bring a double digit deficit to either a tie at half as with Spain, or a 1 possession deficit with Australia. The USA’s only loss at the Olympics came to France, a team they get to play in the Gold Medal Final. The USA has been looking better and better while the French have been looking worse and worse.
- France are currently the official #1 team at this Olympics being the only undefeated nation left. Can the French beat the USA? Yes, because they have already beaten the USA once. The French, however, have had major issues with turnovers in the knockout rounds. Luckily, they greatly reduced them against Slovenia, so they look better on this front now. But, their win over Slovenia seems to have come, partly due to three major factors by Slovenia. One, Slovenia shot 11 of 20 from the free throw line for a whopping 55%. Two, Slovenia shot 10 for 30 from the 3 point line for just 33.3%. Three, Luka Dončić appeared to be hurt in the fourth quarter, and could not contribute as much as he could have. The French have now had two games in a row where they barely survived. Against Italy, their scoreline may suggest a comfortable win, but the score only became that way after the final minute of play. And, against Slovenia, a last second layup was blocked by France’s Batum to secure the win. Ever since the IR Iran game, France has been looking worse each game. Also, there now appears to be a lack of depth on the French team as three players, Vincent Poirier, Petr Cornelie, and Andrew Albicy did not even play against Slovenia. However, two of their players did not play against the USA either in their big win over the #1 team in the world in the group stage (Andrew Albicy and Frank Ntilikina), so maybe they have the same depth as before.
- Slovenia is the third best team with Luka Dončić healthy, and probably should have beaten France. But, they lost their first game with their A team since before Eurobasket 2017.
- Australia looked good in the first half, but they are so undisciplined, that they gave up a big lead in the second quarter, and then did not even really show up in the second half. If Luka Dončić does not play in the Bronze medal game, Australia should probably win their first medal at either the Olympics or World Cup for men’s basketball.
Olympic Gold Medal Preview: #7 France verse #1 USA (7 August 2021 11:30 Tokyo Time; 4:30 AM 7 August 2021 Paris time and 10:30 PM 6 August 2021 Washington, D.C. time)
The USA and France will be playing each other for the second time this Olympics, and the third time in the last two major competitions, the other being the 2019 World Cup. So far, France has won all of them, with an 89-79 World Cup Quarter-final victory and an 83-76 Olympic Group stage victory for France over the USA. In the recent past, their seems to be a common theme, and that is that France can defeat the USA, but cannot defeat Spain or Argentina or Serbia, while the USA can defeat Spain, Argentina, and Serbia, but cannot defeat France. This is similar to the Greek dilemma the USA faced when they could defeat Spain, but not Greece, while Spain could defeat Greece, but Greece could not beat Spain. With that being said, it is tough to say if France really can beat the USA again. The USA is peaking at the right time. Their wins over IR Iran and the Czech Republic after losing to France seemed more like big wins because of their competition, albeit it that their win over the Czechs was actually quite impressive given how the USA shot 75% from the field in the second half. But, after their Spanish victory, most people could tell that the regular dominant USA team was back. And, their win over Australia solidified that! The USA against both Australia and Spain were down in the second quarter by double digits and came back in both to make the game either a tie or a one possession game at the end of the half. And then, in the third quarter, the USA raced out to big leads. Against a team like Australia which had profited off of big quarters this Olympics, it did not seem like this could work, but it did.
In the mean time, France put up a good win over the Czechs after their USA victory, and all looked good for France. But then, the French beat IR Iran in a very poor fashion. It was tough to tell if this was due to France resting a lot of their key players for a lot of the game, or if it was a worrying sign that France had started to play worse. Either way, it showed that their depth may be weaker than previously thought. The French ended up getting Italy, and while the French defeated Italy by 9 points, it was more like the French defeating the Italians by a one possession score, because that is what it was in crunch time. And, with 20 turnovers against the Italians, it seemed like France really got out of there quite lucky because Italy actually played more disciplined. And then came the Slovenian game, which most favored Slovenia following France’s recent performances. And, remember, Italy actually looks like the fifth best team at this Olympics, so it is not that France’s win was worse than the USA’s win over Spain, it is just that it was less impressive given how the USA was much more dominant against Spain. Yet, the French improved on turnovers only having 8 turnovers against Slovenia, and then they benefited from poor free throw shooting by Slovenia, poor three point shooting by Slovenia, and an injury to Slovenia’s best player part way through the fourth quarter. While improving on not getting as many turnovers is a bright spot for France, their last second block to win the game with all of the bad stats and situations Slovenia was in, is a worrying sign because that is less likely to happen against the USA. France should not be counting on Kevin Durant to have injury problems in the Gold Medal game, and if he does, the French will probably have to play better than winning on a last second blocked shot by just one point. In other words, the French not only cannot rely on such luck, but they also cannot rely on that luck producing the same winning results as the USA should be better should these circumstances happen to them.
Still, however, there are three things the French have that the USA does not have. One, the French are better defenders. Two, the French are undefeated with a win over the USA. And three, the French have had tougher games to get to the Gold Medal game, but not by much. And, another plus, after the less turnovers against Slovenia, is that the French have less of a turnover problem now than the Americans. But, the USA have the better offense, the more depth, and more people that can score. And, the USA is playing better, while the French have been playing worse. Furthermore, the USA has the best player left that can win Gold, Kevin Durant.
Height; Team; Average Points (P), Rebounds (R), Assists (A), Blocks (B), Steals (S), +/- (+ or -), Efficiency (E), Minutes (M)
C: Rudy Gobert: 7’1″ (2.15 m); Utah Jazz (USA): P: 11.4, R: 9.6, A: 1.4, B: 1.0, S: 0.8, +6.8, E: 19.0, M: 25.2
C: Moustapha Fall: 7’2″ (2:18 m); Olympiacos B.C. (Greece): P: 3.8, R: 2.6, R: 1.0, B: 0.6, S: 0.0, +4.4, E: 5.8, M: 12.0
C: Vincent Poirier: 7’0″ (2.13 m); Real Madrid (Spain): P: 6.8, R: 3.5, A: 0.5, B: 0.0, S: 0.5, +6.8, E: 9.0, M: 12.6
PF/C: Petr Cornelie: 6’11” (2.11 m); Élan Béarnais Pau-Lacq-Orthez (France): P: 1.7, R: 2.0, A: 0.7, B: 0.0, S: 0.0, +3.3, E: 3.3, M: 6.0
PF: Guerschon Yabusele: 6’8″ (2.03 m); Real Madrid (Spain): P: 5.0, R: 3.6, A: 1.2, B: 0.2, S: 0.2, -4.0, E: 4.8, M: 15.9
SF/PF: Nicolas Batum: 6’8″ (2.03 m); Los Angeles Clippers (USA): P: 8.2, R: 6.0, A: 2.8, B: 1.2, S: 1.2, +5.8, E: 14.8, M: 29.2
SG/SF: Evan Fournier: 6’7″ (2.01 m); New York Knicks (USA): P: 19.2, R: 3.2, A: 2.6, B: 0.0, S: 0.4, +8.0, E: 14.4, M: 27.7
SG/SF: Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot: 6’7″ (2.01 m); played for the Brooklyn Nets for the 2020-2021 season (USA): P: 8.6, R: 3.4, A: 1.2, B: 0.0, S: 1.6, +7.4, E: 11.0, M: 20.7
SG/PG: Nando de Colo: 6’5″ (1.96 m); Fenerbahçe (Turkey): P: 13.8, R: 4.4, A: 6.0, B: 0.0, S: 1.6, +6.0, E: 17.4, M: 24.4
PG: Frank Ntilikina: 6’4″ (1.93 m); played for the New York Knicks for the 2020-2021 season (USA): P: 1.0, R: 1.0, A: 1.7, B: 0.0, S: 0.3, +3.3, E: 1.7, M: 10.0
PG: Thomas Huertel: 6’2″ (1.89 m); Real Madrid (Spain): P: 9.6, R: 2.2, A: 3.4, B: 0.0, S: 0.2, +6.4, E: 9.0, M: 18.4
PG: Andrew Albicy: 5’10” (1.78 m); Herbalife Gran Canaria (Spain): P: 0.0, R: 0.7, A: 1.0, B: 0.0, S: 0.3, +6.3, E: 0.3, M: 11.4
C: JaVale McGee: 7’0″ (2.13 m); played for the Denver Nuggets for the 2020-2021 season (USA): P: 6.3, R: 1.3, A: 0.0, B: 0.5, S: 0.5, +1.3, E: 7.5, M: 5.0
PF/C: Bam Adebayo: 6’9″ (2.06 m); Miami Heat (USA): P: 6.4, R: 5.6, A: 1.4, B: 0.8, S: 1.4, +12.6, E: 11.4, M: 18.4
PF: Draymond Green: 6’6″ (1.98 m); Golden State Warriors (USA): P: 4.2, R: 2.8, A: 2.4, B: 0.2, S: 1.0, +9.4, E: 8.8, M: 18.1
SF/PF: Jayson Tatum: 6’8″ (2.03 m); Boston Celtics (USA): P: 14.4, R: 2.6, A: 1.4, B: 1.4, S: 0.4, +13.2, E: 12.6, M: 20.4
SF/PF: Kevin Durant: 6’10” (2.08 m); Brooklyn Nets (USA): P: 19.0, R: 5.2, A: 3.8, B: 1.2, S: 1.2, +14.8, E: 23.0, M: 25.9
SF/PF: Jerami Grant: 6’8″ (2.03 m); Detroit Pistons (USA): P: 1.0, R: 1.3, A: 0.8, B: 0.0, S: 0.3, +7.8, E: 2.5, M: 4.9
SG/SF: Keldon Johnson: 6’5″ (1.96 m); San Antonio Spurs (USA): P: 1.0, R: 0.8, A: 0.8, B: 0.0, S: 0.0, +1.3, E: 2.0, M: 5.6
SG/SF: Khris Middleton: 6’7″ (2.01 m); Milwaukee Bucks (USA): P: 6.2, R: 2.0, A: 1.8, B: 0.0, S: 1.0, +5.0, E: 7.4, M: 16.4
SG/SF: Zach LaVine: 6’5″ (1.96 m); Chicago Bulls (USA): P: 10.6, R: 2.4, A: 4.0, B: 0.0, S: 1.0, +11.2, E: 14.8, M: 19.9
SG: Devin Booker: 6’5″ (1.96 m); Phoenix Suns (USA): P: 10.8, R: 3.8, A: 2.0, B: 0.4, S: 1.6, +16.0, E: 12.6, M: 20.3
SG/PG: Jrue Holiday: 6’3″ (1.91 m); Milwaukee Bucks (USA): P: 12.0, R: 4.8, A: 4.4, B: 0.8, S: 1.4, +14.0, E: 16.8, M: 24.8
PG: Damian Lillard: 6’2″ (1.88 m); Portland Trailblazers (USA): P: 11.2, R: 3.0, A: 3.2, B: 0.0, S: 0.4, +10.6, E: 10.4, M: 23.5
Short History of Both teams: France has won two silver medals at the Olympics (1948 and 2000), as well as had two third place finishes at the World Cup (2014 and 2019). France has won one Eurobasket (2013), and has gotten second place twice (1949 and 2011), and third place six times (1937, 1951, 1953, 1959, 2005, and 2015). The USA is the most successful basketball nation in the world, having won five World Cups, fifteen Olympic Gold medals, and seven FIBA Americas Cups. Furthermore, the USA has gotten two silvers and one bronze at the Olympics, has finished in second three times and has finished third four times at the World Cup, and has finished second once at the FIBA Americas Cup.
Prediction/Favorite: The USA should win this Gold Medal Final because they have the momentum, are the better overall team, have the best overall player (Kevin Durant) between these two teams, have the deeper roster, have more experience winning major World Tournament events, and with the addition of Devin Booker to the scoring mix we saw against Australia, this means that the USA has now proven to have six guys capable of high scoring games this Olympics: Kevin Durant, Jayson Tatum, Jrue Holiday, Zach LaVine, Damian Lillard, and Devin Booker. Furthermore, the USA have even more players that average a double digits in point scoring in the NBA such as Khris Middleton, Bam Adebayo, Jerami Grant, and Keldon Johnson. While Draymond Green and JaVale McGee may not average double digits currently, they have in the past and are really good defenders. Draymond Green, Jrue Holiday, Bam Adebayo, and Kevin Durant have been the best defenders with good contributions from Devin Booker and Jayson Tatum. The top performers have been Kevin Durant, Jrue Holiday, Zach LaVine, Jayson Tatum, and Bam Adebayo, with Devin Booker now being up there as well after his great performance against Australia.
However, France has the better defense, the best defender, the best free throw shooters, and the best points per a game scorer between the two teams. Rudy Gobert is the best defender in the Olympic Final. He has consistently ranked as the best big man with the best points per 100 possessions against while in in the NBA. In other words, Rudy Gobert gives up the least points while in. He disrupts 2 point shots, and will lower the USA’s field goal percentage most likely. Yet, how will France defend against the 3 point shot? The answer is what they did to Luka Dončić, which is put Timothé Luwawu-Cabarrot, Frank Ntilikina, and Nicolas Batum on Kevin Durant. Kevin Durant is shooting lights out from 3 pointers, but if you noticed, a lot of his shots have been uncontested, and the fact he is getting the ball so often suggests better defenses will eliminate his ability even more. France did this to Kevin Durant in the group stage limiting him to 4 of 12 field goal shooting and 1 of 6 on 3 pointers. This means Kevin Durant will most likely need to be more of team player, much like Luka Dončić tried to do, and accomplished by getting a triple double with 18 assists. Kevin Durant, though, has not really shown this capability, and thus the USA will most likely need another player to step up in this game, which they have plenty of. Imagine if Khris Middleton or Jerami Grant put up a performance like they consistently do in the NBA, or if Devin Booker puts up a huge game like he has done? If the USA can have consistency from their six leading scorers, and good defense by people like Jrue Holiday and Draymond Green, they could shut down France and also score lots. However, with the Nando de Colo and Evan Fournier combo, that is unlikely. And, Nando de Colo finally got going and put up a really good game for him against Slovenia scoring 25 points on 47% field goal shooting (this part not so good by him), 60% from 3 point range, and 6 of 6 on free throws. Nando de Colo is the best free throw shooter, while Evan Fournier is the best scorer right now in the Gold Medal Final (although Kevin Durant is the better scorer overall, just not in this tournament). France also features six guys that consistently put up double digits in the leagues they play in: Nando de Colo, Nicolas Batum, Evan Fournier, Rudy Gobert, Thomas Heurtel, and Guerschon Yabusele. And, Vincent Poirier, averaged double digits in his Euroleague career, but has not been given enough minutes to do the same in the NBA yet. France also has the best wins so far in this tournament, with big wins over the USA, Italy, and Slovenia. The USA’s big wins have been over Spain and Australia. This is not as a disrespect to IR Iran and the Czech Republic, but they just did not show up very well at this Olympics. Slovenia has been better than Australia and Italy has been better than Spain. And, while the USA’s wins over Spain and Australia should give them confidence, they must remember that the current point scoring threats from France are a lot more than either of those two teams, while France’s defense is also better than those two teams. Still, the USA is the best team, the current #1 team in the World and defending Olympic Champions. France will be looking to win their first Gold Medal at the Olympics (or any major world tournament for that matter), and anything but Gold will seem like a missed opportunity. However, the USA is playing for more than just basketball and country, the USA as an Olympic Team are barely trailing PR China as this is written in the Gold Medal count and wins in the Men’s Basketball, Women’s Basketball, Baseball, Women’s (Indoor) Volleyball, and Women’s Beach Volleyball tournaments would be enough to tie things up as they stand. Of course more gold medals will probably be needed, but these five are almost a must. Plus, the USA knows that than anything less than a Gold Medal is considered unacceptable in the USA for basketball, and in fact, a single loss, even with winning the Gold Medal is considered bad in the USA. The USA has a chance to avenge their French loss from earlier, and with Kevin Durant and Devin Booker, plus the rest of the crew heating up at the right time, the USA should win the Olympic Men’s Basketball Gold Medal for the 16th time in their history!
Bronze Medal Game: #16 Slovenia verse #3 Australia (7 August 2021 20:00 Tokyo Time; 7 August 2021 13:00 Ljubljana Time and 7 August 2021 21:00 Canberra Time)
This will be a much less in depth analysis. The Bronze Medal game of course is of upmost importance, but it is not the Gold Medal Game.
Players to watch: For Slovenia: Luka Dončić (Dallas Mavericks guard/forward), Mike Tobey (Valencia center), and Vlatko Čančar (Denver Nuggets small forward). Other players to watch for are Klemen Prepelič (Valencia shooting guard) and Zoran Dragić (Saski-Baskonia shooting guard/small forward). For Australia: Nick Kay (Shimane Susanoo Magic power forward/center), Patty Mills (San Antonio Spurs point guard), and Jock Landale (San Antonio Spurs forward). Other notable players include Joe Ingles (shooting guard/small forward) and Dante Exum (last played for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2020-2021 season, but was traded to the Houston Rockets, however is currently not on a team and plays point guard/shooting guard). Aaron Baynes (Toronto Raptors power forward/center), is out and no longer playing in this Olympics, but was a key player for the Australians. Luka Dončić has been the best player at this year’s Olympics, but maybe out for this Bronze Medal game, so keep up to date with that.
History about each team: Australia have never won any medals at the World Cup or Olympics, but they have won 19 FIBA Oceania Championships, and have gotten second in the FIBA Oceania Championship twice. Since 2017, Oceania has competed in Asia, and thus, Australia also has won one FIBA Asia Cup (2017). Slovenia has never won a medal at the Olympics or the World Cup, but has won Eurobasket once (2017). However, until 1991, Slovenia was a part of Yugoslavia which won three World Cups (1970, 1978, and 1990), one Olympic Gold medal (1980), and won five Eurobaskets (1973, 1975, 1977, 1989, and 1991). Furthermore, Yugoslavia got the silver medal at three Olympics (1968, 1976, and 1988), got bronze at the Olympics once (1984), got second place at the World Cup three times (1963, 1967, and 1974), got third place at the World Cup two times (1982 and 1986), got second place at Eurobasket five times (1961, 1965, 1969, 1971, and 1981), and got third place three times at Eurobasket (1963, 1979, and 1987).
Prediction: If Luka Dončić plays, Slovenia should win. If he does not, it should still be a close game that could go either way. Slovenia is 17-1 with their A team since Eurobasket 2017, with their only loss being a 1 point loss to France in the semi-finals, where a blocked shot in the last seconds ended their opportunity to win the Gold Medal. Some were calling them the Gold Medal favorites, but now, they will have to push for Bronze. Australia, on the other hand, have been so close to winning a medal at both the World Cup and the Olympics. They have gotten four fourth place finishes at the Olympics (1988, 1996, 2000, and 2014) and one fourth place at the World Cup (2019). Australia has been the basketball powerhouse that can never seem to get that elusive medal. So, a Bronze Medal for Australia will be considered even more of an accomplishment than for Slovenia. And, with Dante Exum now playing well, Australia will have an extra key player to use against Slovenia. If Dončić plays, Slovenia are favorites. If he does not play, the nod goes to Australia, but only with the slightest of margins, partly because Australia is so undisciplined and they are kind of the bottlers of international basketball. They were even up 15 points against the USA, and then the USA went on a 46-14 run. So, it just seems like the Aussies find every way not to finish with medals in men’s basketball. But, I still expect them to win, if Dončić does not play.