EMPIRE OF THE SUNS

Devin Booker wins Olympic gold medal, Kevin Durant leads USA over France

Aug 6, 2021, 9:50 PM | Updated: 11:39 pm
Nando de Colo #12 of Team France looks to pass the ball asDevin Booker #15 of Team United States de...
Nando de Colo #12 of Team France looks to pass the ball asDevin Booker #15 of Team United States defends during the first half of a Men's Basketball Finals game on day fifteen of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on August 07, 2021 in Saitama, Japan. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
(Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Devin Booker achieved one of his ultimate goals this summer.

Sure, the one he put the most work into and wanted more than any other was an NBA championship with the Phoenix Suns. He’ll have a few more cracks at making that happen over his career.

But on Friday night, er, I mean, Saturday afternoon 16 hours ahead in Tokyo, he won a gold medal with Team USA in the Olympics. That’s a once-in-a-lifetime-type deal too. Pretty cool.

It was an 87-82 victory for the Americans over France in the gold medal game.

Ever since Booker was named to the select team for the 2016 Olympics, he talked about how it had always been a dream of his to win the tournament representing his country. He saw how this was something the all-time greats did at some point in their career, and now Booker has done it.

The final against France was not a fair representation of Booker’s overall play across the last two weeks, as he joined Kevin Durant and Jrue Holiday as being one of the Americans’ three most consistent players.

Booker had two points and an assist in 22 minutes, struggling with foul trouble. Even through that, Booker played stellar defense and was one of the best defenders in the tournament. Head coach Gregg Popovich had Holiday marking France’s Evan Fournier, leaving Booker as the man taking on the French’s point guard, Nando de Colo.

In that position, Booker was picking up the floor general full court and hounding ’em. Through that and switching, he drew two offensive fouls with that mentality. It has been a joy to watch Booker accept his role change and adapt to it, becoming a glue guy on a team full of stars like him.

For the rematch against France, a matchup the Americans lost in pool play, they won through their defense. The United States’ intensity on that end reached a new gear and held the French to 32% shooting from three-point range. A tremendous Durant continued his top-notch form on the other end, scoring 29 points to carry the offense again.

Jayson Tatum (19 points) had his best game of the Olympics, and ditto for Damian Lillard (11 points), who was great defensively and hit a few key shots in the fourth quarter.

Penguin Air

Empire of the Suns

Jae Crowder #99, Chris Paul #3, Mikal Bridges #25 and Cameron Payne #15 of the Phoenix Suns react d...
Kellan Olson

Initial impressions, observations from Phoenix Suns’ 2022-23 schedule

A few areas of the Phoenix Suns' 82-game schedule we can spotlight to keep an eye on throughout the regular season.
23 hours ago
Ish Wainright #12 of the Phoenix Suns during the second half of Game Five of the Western Conference...
Kellan Olson

Ish Wainright returns to Phoenix Suns on 2-way contract, per report

The Phoenix Suns have agreed to a two-way contract with forward Ish Wainright, according to The Athletic's Shams Charania.
15 days ago
(Twitter photo/@KellanOlson)...
Kellan Olson

Cam Johnson’s connection to Valley strengthens with 3-on-3 tournament

The Phoenix Suns' Cam Johnson can confidently call the Valley his second home and keeps finding ways to connect to the community.
19 days ago
Cameron Johnson #23 of the Phoenix Suns reacts after hitting a three-point shot against the New Orl...
Kellan Olson

Suns’ Cam Johnson hears trade rumors, focused on offseason growth

Phoenix Suns wing Cam Johnson hears the noise of trade rumors this summer and understands the business side of the NBA.
19 days ago
Kevin Durant #7 of the Brooklyn Nets looks on during the second half of the Eastern Conference 2022...
Kellan Olson

Will Phoenix Suns abandon team-building principles to land Kevin Durant?

The Phoenix Suns must decide how badly they want Kevin Durant and how long they are willing to wait to make it happen.
21 days ago
Tyson Carter #11 of the Phoenix Suns is fouled as he drives to the basket by Craig Sword #32 of the...
Kellan Olson

Summer Suns wrap up play in Las Vegas with win over Pacers

Phoenix Suns basketball came to a close this summer with an 84-69 win in Summer League play over the Indiana Pacers.
1 month ago
Devin Booker wins Olympic gold medal, Kevin Durant leads USA over France