USA Men’s Basketball Olympic Opening Lost to France, 83-76

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SAITAMA, Japan — The United States men’s basketball team lost balance at the Saitama Super Arena Sunday night after losing 83-76 to France in the opening game of the Olympics after entering Tokyo on a rocky road.

The Americans shot just 36 percent and lagged behind with a bad score in the third quarter, 25-11, when they scored an 8-point lead at halftime and were completely behind.

Evan Fournier, who played for the Boston Celtics last season, led France with 28 points. Jrue Holiday, who just won the NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks, scored 18 points for the United States less than 24 hours after landing in Tokyo.

Since the end of June, when their 12-man roster was announced, the Americans have experienced multiple waves of confusion.

Bradley Beal was cut from the squad and removed from the Olympics on July 15 after testing positive for the coronavirus. The next day, the team lost Kevin Love, who was suffering from a leg injury. Last week, Zach LaVine had to miss the team’s flight to Tokyo and he had to join the group within a week of being placed on virus-related protocols.

Three players who made it into the NBA finals – Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Holiday – didn’t join the team at their Tokyo hotel until the wee hours of Sunday morning. USA Coach Gregg Popovich has stated that when entering the tournament, players should be prepared to adjust game time based on how they deal with jet lag and fatigue.

Personnel issues aside, the team didn’t look too good on the pitch. He lost two back-to-back exhibition games in Las Vegas, falling in nigeria and Australia within a three-day period. Prior to these defeats, our men’s national team had lost only two of the 56 matches it played since 1992.

Yet the United States remains the heavy favorite, winning the tournament and collecting the 16th gold medal in program history.

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