For the U.S., it's a shot at revenge. For France, it's a shot at history.
Team USA will play France in the gold medal game Friday night. It's a rematch of both teams' opening games in the Tokyo Olympics, in which the French beat the U.S. in a shocking 83-76 upset.
How to Watch
The game will tip-off at 10:30 p.m. ET on Friday, Aug. 6, and will be broadcast on NBC for TV and streaming on NBCOlympics.com.
The opening loss was a wake-up call for the U.S., which came to the Tokyo Games with a younger roster than in years past. Brooklyn Nets' Kevin Durant and Golden State Warriors' Draymond Green are the only players from the gold medal-winning 2016 Rio Olympics squad, and Durant is the only player from the 2012 London team.
Durant has put the team on his back in recent wins. He scored 29 points in the quarterfinal vs. Spain, and followed that up with 23 in semifinal against an Australia team that featured seven NBA players. He likely would have added more against the Czech Republic, where he scored 14 in the first half, and Iran, but Head Coach Gregg Popovich opted to rest him later in those games, which became blowouts.
Durant is now the all-time leading scorer for U.S. men's basketball in Olympics play, passing Carmelo Anthony for that honor in these Games. If Team USA were to avenge their earlier loss to France and take the gold medal, Durant would become just the second men's player with four gold medals, a feat only (once again) Anthony has accomplished.
Since allowing NBA players to compete in 1992 on the Dream Team, America has won six of seven gold medals and lost just three games (all in 2004) prior to its opening defeat against France. Team USA had won its last 25 Olympic men’s basketball games dating back to 2004 when it lost to Argentina in the knockout stage semifinals.
For France, it's their first trip to to the finals since 2000. They punched their ticket to the gold medal game after narrowly squeaking by a Luka Doncic-led Slovenian team in the semifinals by one point.
In one of the most intense games of the Olympics, Doncic finished with a rare Olympic triple-double, despite being hindered late in the game after suffering an injury to his wrist. The game was tight throughout, with France with just six-point lead going into the fourth period.
With less than three seconds remaining, Slovenia Klemen Prepelic drove to the basket and seemingly had gotten by French defender Nicolas Batum for a layup that would have given the team a one point lead.
Instead, Batum recovered and swatted away the attempt, sealing the win.
The French team is undefeated in the Tokyo Olympics, coming into the final 5-0. France has never won a gold medal in men's basketball at the Olympics. They have finished second twice, in 2000 and 1948; both times, the team lost in the finals to the U.S.
In the team's opening round matchup, the U.S. led at halftime by six, but France came storming back in the third period, outscoring Team USA 25-11. The Americans still held a seven-point lead with less than four minutes left to play, but France chipped away until a three-pointer by Evan Fournier gave them a lead by one. After several missed shots by the U.S. and free throws hit by France, the game was eventually put on ice.
After that, the team had a couple of blowout wins over the Czech Republic and Iran, followed by a nine-point win over Italy in the quarterfinals. There is no shortage of star-power on the team, with five NBA players on the roster including Batum (Clippers), Fournier (Celtics), Frank Ntilikina (Knicks), Rudy Gobert (Jazz) and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (Nets).