Host City: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Venue(s): Carioca Arena 1, Barra Olympic Park, Barra da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro
Date Started: August 6, 2016
Date Finished: August 21, 2016
Format: Round-robin pools advance teams to classification matches.
The heavy favorite in menâs basketball was the United States, which had not lost an international game since the semi-finals of the 2006 World Championships, when they were defeated by Greece. That year also coincided with the first year that Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski was asked to become the USA National coach, a job he continued through the Rio Olympics. Under Krzyzewski, the USA won the 2008 and 2012 Olympic gold medals, and the 2010 and 2014 World Championships, although in 2014 the name changed to World Cup. The only glimmer of hope for the other teams was that several of the USAâs best NBA players, among them [LeBron James] and Stephen Curry, elected not to play in the Olympics. It mattered little.
In group play the United States won all five of its games to qualify for group play, however, it was not that easy as the USA was challenged in several games. After comfortable wins over China and Venezuela, the US defeated Australia by only 10 points, and then survived very close games against Serbia and France, winning both by three points, and the US appeared vulnerable going into the elimination rounds. Also advancing from Group A were Australia, France and Serbia. In group B, Croatia, Spain, Lithuania, and Argentina finished in an unusual four-way tie with identical 3-2 records, with point differential breaking the tie, but only for seeding purposes.
The quarter-finals saw Australia, France, Serbia, and the United States advancing, as the USA defeated Argentina with ease, 105-78, putting to rest some rumors of their vulnerability. Serbia defeated Croatia in an internecine struggle. The semi-finals were closer for the USA, defeating Spain 82-76, but the game was actually not that tight. The final was a replay of the 2014 World Cup final, with the United States meeting Serbia, who they had only defeated 94-91 in group play, but the game was a romp, with the US winning 95-66, despite easing up in the fourth quarter. The bronze medal match was very close with Spain eking out a victory for the medal, defeating Australia, 89-88. For the winning US team, [Carmelo Anthony ] became the first man to win three Olympic golds in basketball. The only good news for other nations was that Mike Krzyzewski, who had become the first basketball coach to lead a team to three gold medals, was stepping down as USA National coach, but he would be replaced by Gregg Popovich, considered the top coach in the NBA, for the San Antonio Spurs.