And that would seem to be the issue. Team USA has won not by playing exceptionally good defense (though it has been good), nor by executing a particularly ingenious game plan. It has won because, at some point in its games – and for seemingly inscrutable reasons – it has simply ignited in a Wagnerian conflagration of 3-pointers.
In Friday’s semifinal, it was Kevin Durant, cold from the field throughout the first half, who suddenly found his eye, hitting four 3-pointers in five minutes. As has been the case throughout the Olympics, the initial outburst seemed to send a palpable ripple through the team, as though Coach Mike Krzyzewski had some secret on-off switch beneath his seat, and his team was suddenly and unstoppably electric.