It was a horrible start for the United States basketball enthusiasts as they were beaten by France in the opening match of their event. This was the United States Men’s team’s first loss since the Olympic Games in 2004. Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert both played a big role in the win and it felt like the US team filled with stars were under pressure.
Greg Popovich’s men were cruising along in the first quarter and some of them were almost casual that they would be winning all the matches. It was at halftime when the French basketball side started taking more risks and they got closer to the US lead.
Going into Q3, Popovich’s side led the French 45-37 but Fournier and others decided to give their all in the last quarter and that is where the game has turned on its head. Gobert led the charge as he locked down the American attack with Fournier leading the French attack. This was basically the mantra to success for the France basketball team as they celebrated a sensational win.
Speaking at the post match interview Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard explained the difference between a foreign player in the NBA and in any international league. He said, “You know who we see each night sometimes in the NBA, they are completely different when they play for their countries,” Portland‘s No.0 exclaimed. “They got more freedom, and the comfort level is obvious. So we put ourselves in a dogfight, and they [France] made plays to win it.”
It was a wake-up call for Popovic’s men and from now on Jatum Tatum and Kevin Durant’s men will be ready for any challenge thrown at them at the Tokyo Olympics. The US basketball team will face the rugged Iranians in their next match at the Olympics and the onus will be on Kevin Durant and others to perform. Durant who is technically the biggest and most experienced player needs to take more responsibility or else it may backfire the Brooklyn Nets talisman.
The US basketball team will also have Devin Booker and Jrue Holiday more rested for the Iran game and one can expect them to come up with a smooth win.