Team USA blows lead against France for first Olympic loss since 2004
Team USA Basketball has been under a microscope in Tokyo after surprisingly losing two exhibition games prior to the Olympics, and the subpar play continued in their first official game on Sunday.
Team USA blew a late lead against France to lose its first game of the group stage by a score of 83-76. USA had a 74-73 lead with less than a minute remaining before Evan Fournier hit a 3-pointer and France never looked back. France finished the game on a 16-2 run.
The loss was Team USA’s first since the 2004 Olympics, when Argentina beat them in the semifinals. They had won 24 straight games.
Team USA is not exactly in trouble. They now have to beat Iran and the Czech Republic to advance to the knockout stage, and they will be heavily favored in both games. Though, they were favored by 13.5 points against France.
France has a good amount of NBA talent led by Fournier and Rudy Gobert. They are one of the better teams in the tournament, but their win over Team USA was yet another shock.
Fournier scored a game-high 28 points. Jrue Holiday led Team USA with 18 points after coming off the bench. No one else scored more than 12 points for Gregg Popovich’s team.
Team USA lost exhibition games against Nigeria and Australia ahead of the Olympics. Bradley Beal had to head home from Tokyo due to COVID protocols, but the assumption was that Team USA would overcome all of those setbacks. Kevin Durant explained why the two exhibition losses were not all that alarming, but Sunday’s loss to France will only add to the pressure Team USA is facing.