Team USA finds its rhythm, rolls into gold medal game

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Kevin Durant reacts from the bench as the U.S. used a second-half burst to beat Australia. (Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)When the United States men’s basketball team gets cranked up — defense, rebounding, ball movement, three-point shooting — there isn’t a team here at the Olympics that can defeat them.

The Americans are so good when they are good, they don’t even have to be good for all 40 minutes. At least not yet.

The US rode a 28-4 run across 8:20 of play that bookended halftime to take control of the semifinals en route to a 97-78 victory over a talented Australian team.

On Saturday morning here, but Friday night in the United States (10:30 p.m. ET) they will seek their 16th gold medal in 19 Olympic appearances, including four consecutive. Assured at least a silver, they continued their streak of medaling in every Olympics they have ever entered.

The US will face either a French team that defeated them at the start of these Games or a Luka Doncic-led Slovenia club. Those two teams play later Thursday here in Japan.

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