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Three-time defending champions the United States booked a berth in the men's basketball final at Tokyo 2020 after beating Australia 97-78.

TOKYO, Aug. 5 (Xinhua) -- After losing to France in the opener, three-time defending champion the United States nailed down another big win as it beat Australia 97-78 in Thursday's semifinals of the Tokyo Olympic men's basketball competition at the Saitama Super Arena.

The U.S. finished second in the group stage by overwhelming Iran 120-66 and the Czech Republic 119-84 before knocking out Spain 95-81 in the quarterfinals.

Kevin Durant led the U.S. with 23 points and nine rebounds while Devin Booker adding 20 points.

Slovenia and France will battle for the other berth in the final later on Thursday.

"It's a tough run for us and we look forward to seeing who we play first and going out there and trying to finish," Durant said. "When we were down 15 points, we kept our composure and we knew we can get back into the game pretty fast."

Leading 24-18 in the first quarter, Australia maintained its more accurate long shots to extend the lead to 41-26 midway into the second, but the U.S. closed it to 45-42 with a 16-4 run before the break.

Seeking for its fourth consecutive title, the U.S. scored 13 straight points, eight from Durant, to start the third quarter 54-45, and Booker's 3-pointer gave the Americans a 74-55 lead in this quarter.

There was no real Australian challenge in the fourth quarter.

Patty Mills scored a team-high 15 points and delivered eight assists for Australia.

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