Team USA coach Gregg Popovich has hailed his side’s ability to fight back after surviving an early scare to win 95-81 over Spain at the Tokyo 2020 quarter-finals on Tuesday.
USA progresses to the semi-finals where they will play Australia, who defeated Argentina 97-59 in a one-sided quarter-final.
Spain had led by as much as 10 points in the second quarter against USA, but Popovich’s side rallied, led by Kevin Durant with 29 points and four assists.
Scores were level 43-all at half-time, before a dominant second half where they scored 52 points.
“I feel great about the victory knowing full well there is a lot of work to be done. We played a terrific basketball team,” Popovich said.
“To play that team and go down by nine or 10 (points) and stay in and find a way to win is very satisfying.”
When asked if he was worried about his side’s slow start, Popovich added: “Of course. The further you move in the tournament, the harder it gets.”
Brooklyn Nets star Durant was critical for USA, shooting at 59 per cent from the field, along with four three-pointers.
“In these games every team has people like that to depend on and come through and he certainly did,” Popovich said about Durant.
“It was big to respond,” he said. “It was a time not to get worried but raise our sense of urgency. Basketball is a game of runs and it is all about how you respond.”