The United States’ basketball team suffered a loss in its opening game of the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo. France defeated Kevin Durant and the boys earlier today, 83-76, winning the second straight matchup against Team USA in international tournaments.
For those who forgot, France defeated the Americans in the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals in China.
Nothing indicated that the same might happen today. Team USA was in control over the opening 10 minutes, keeping the rivals restrained and without too many options on the offensive side of the court. Adebayo, Lillard, and the remaining part of the crew were exceptional in defense, slowing the French guards, which eventually led to France having six turnovers in the first eight minutes of the contest.
France take down USA 83-76 🇫🇷
Fournier: 28 PTS | 11/22 FG
Gobert: 14 PTS | 5/6 FG | 9 REB
Jrue: 18 PTS | 5/12 FG | 7 REB
Bam: 12 PTS | 5/8 FG | 9 REB
— Overtime (@overtime) July 25, 2021
The USA was ahead in the second quarter as well, but it was obvious that the French players are slowly catching their rhythm. They were 10 points down, 45-35, with 53 seconds until the break, but playing much better. After the pause, France came out and roll over the Americans, winning that sequence 25-11, after a 22-7 run.
Though, midway through the final period, Team USA was back in the saddle following several mistakes the French team made and some pretty questionable calls from the officials.
With 3:41 to go and Devin Booker’s hit from the free-throw line, the USA reached a seven-point advantage, 74-67, and at that point, everything seemed perfect for them. It would turn out that the Americans managed to score only two more points until the end, while on the other side, France added 16.
Evan Fournier was splashing threes in the essential situations, with the current Boston Celtics’ guard ending the night with 28 points and 11-for-23 shooting from the field. Fournier was there to pull his team out of the hole and destroy the American defense in various ways.
With the result 74-73 for the USA, Fournier hit a three-pointer, shifting the momentum to France’s side and killing the morale of the pale American crew.
Besides Fournier, Rudy Gobert had an important role, with 14 points and nine rebounds, closing all the gaps under the rim and pushing out Adebayo, McGee, and everyone that played in or around the paint. Fenerbahce’s shooter, Nando De Colo, scored 13 points, while the Clippers’ Nicola Batum had five points.
In Team USA, Jrue Holiday left the best impression, hitting 18 points off the bench with seven boards and three assists. The only other player at the expected level was Bam Adebayo with 12 points and 10 rebounds. Still, most of his buckets were in the first half, and Miami’s center was virtually invisible in the second half.
Kevin Durant scored 10 points going 1-for-6 from the field. The former NBA MVP picked up four fouls pretty fast, and he had to spend some time on the bench. Damian Lillard had 11 buckets, 3-for-9 from the field.
Turnovers were, in the end, the biggest reason why Team USA lost. Durant had five, Draymond Green four, Adebayo and LaVine three each. In total, the Americans lost possession 25 times during today’s game.
Energy and stamina are also the problems for Popovich, and he needs to take care of that. Once more, his team lost juice in the last 15 minutes, which was the scenario against Australia and Nigeria.
Up next, the USA faces Iran.
Nikola Velickovic is a sports journalist who loves to write and read on all sports. Nikola contributes both news updates and functions as a sports breaking news writer at WagerBop.