Though Team USA continues to flirt with disaster, Klay Thompson was able to bury his weeklong Rio Olympics nightmare.
The Warriors guard scored 30 points -– 19 more than his total through the first four games -– to lead Team USA to a 100-97 victory over France on Sunday.
The U.S. Olympians, pushed for the third consecutive game, were able to run their record to 5-0 in pool play and clinch the top seed as teams advance to the quarterfinals round on Wednesday.
Warriors forward Kevin Durant finished with 17 points, as Carmelo Anthony and Kyrie Irving each totaled 10. Irving rang up 12 assists, tying a U.S. Olympics record.
Thompson’s magnificent shooting 9-of-16 from the floor, including 7-of-13 from deep, was in stark contrast to his 4-of-26 numbers through the first four games in Rio. Moreover, it allowed Team USA open up a 16-point lead in the third quarter.
“I couldn’t have shot any worse than in the first four games,” Thompson told NBC Sports reporter Ros Gold-Onwude afterward.
“But at the end of the day, we were 4-0,” Thompson added. “It doesn’t matter how you shoot; it only matters what happens on that scoreboard. Build off it, but you can’t get caught up in how you shoot. You’ve got to just play your hardest and everything else will take care of itself.”
Team USA held a 55-46 lead at the half and pushed it to 78-62 on a 3-pointer by Thompson with 2:26 left in the third quarter before France staged a fourth-quarter rally to cut the margin to three when Antoine Diot made a 3-pointer at the buzzer.
France played without Spurs star Tony Parker, who sustained a toe injury on Friday and watched from the bench.
How the Warriors fared:
Durant: 17 points on 6-of-6 shooting, six rebounds and four assists. He started at forward and played 30 minutes.
Draymond Green: 0 points (0-of-1), one assist. He sat for the entire first half before coming off the bench in the third quarter and playing six minutes.
Thompson: 30 points (9-of-16), one assist. He started at guard, playing 26 minutes.