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Zach LaVine gets some love as Team USA advances to gold-medal game at Tokyo Olympics

love to see it

2020 Tokyo Olympics: United States v Australia Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

Zach LaVine and Team USA looked to be in some trouble against Australia in their Olympic semifinal match, falling behind 41-26 in the second quarter. But Team USA stormed back to make it a three-point game at halftime, and then they stomped all over the Boomers in the second half to earn a 97-78 victory and a rematch with France in the gold-medal game on Friday night.

LaVine scored nine points on 4-of-6 shooting off the bench, but it was his defense (two steals and other nice hustle plays) that was drawing rave reviews from the announcers and Kevin Durant alike. The Bulls star was very active on the defensive end, which helped key a spirited effort for Team USA after going down big in that first half. Zach helped turn defense into offense on a few occasions, resulting in some high-flying theatrics:

LaVine still has his warts defensively, but it’s pretty cool to see him get recognized for his improvement on that end of the court. He’ll need to bring that improvement night in and night out next season as the Bulls try to make their big push into the playoffs with all these new additions.

Speaking of that, LaVine had a simple reaction to the DeMar DeRozan news the other day:

Perhaps LaVine will actually win four games in a row in the NBA with this revamped Bulls squad. He finally hit that winning streak with this win over the Aussies, which is the first time he has won four games in a row since his college days at UCLA. Pretty wild stuff.

The rematch against France for gold is on Friday night at 9:30 p.m. CT.