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Tokyo Olympics: Men's Basketball- Team USA off to a disastrous start to their campaign after dropping the first game to France

All eyes were on the Saitama Super Arena as Team USA kicked off their campaign by facing fellow contenders France led by three-time NBA Defensive Player of The Year Rudy Gobert.

Tokyo Olympics Basketball Score: France - 83 | USA - 76

Team USA off to a disastrous start with a defeat to fellow contenders France


Ananth Narasimman

Updated: 25 July 2021 4:41 PM GMT

All eyes were on the Saitama Super Arena as Team USA kicked off their campaign by facing fellow contenders France led by three-time NBA Defensive Player of The Year Rudy Gobert. The Americans got off to a bright start with Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo and Damian Lillard going off, shooting threes from way off the three-point line and getting to the rim at will. Bam dominated during the first half with ten points to go along with his six boards, he was expected to score, and he did, but what surprised fans in the first half was Bam's dominance against Gobert.

Damian Lillard did what he always does, and he pulled up and scored threes at will while moving the ball around to help his teammates find open looks. The USA seemed to play cohesive and dominating Basketball leading to France trailing for most periods.
The entry of Evan Fournier changed the course of the game for the French, with the veteran shooting guard increasing the tempo and taking it to the stars of Team USA. Fournier picked his spots perfectly and hit clutch jumpers to keep his team in the game and give them the necessary boost that they needed. Seeing Fournier knock down his jump shots helped his teammates also raise their games. Rudy Gobert played like the DPOY and dominated the paint, gobbling up rebounds and attacking with brute force.
De Colo hit a couple of clutch jumpers to help cut the lead and later preserve theirs when they went ahead. The other addition apart from Fournier that changed the game for the Les Bleus was L.A. Clippers Star Nic Batum. He acted as the perfect energizer bunny, throwing himself on the floor to get the ball, hitting timely jump shots when needed and most importantly make hustle plays that eventually made the difference.
The USA, on the other hand, had their spurts of mesmerizing Basketball, where they were able to hit shots, drive to the rim at will and hold their own with strong team defense. Draymond Green and Jrue Holiday led the charge on that end by being vocal leaders and creating chaos in the perimeter and the paint by using their elite Basketball IQ. Holiday especially had the most impact, by not only hounding the oppositions best player but also willing his team single-handedly when they could not find their rhythm. The recently crowned NBA champion hit big-time shots to keep his team in the game and finished with a total of 18 points, one steal, four assists and seven rebounds. What did not show up in the stat sheet was that Holiday did not give in and fought tooth and nail, despite being the one with the most wear and tear.

France not only beat the Americans in terms of the box score but beat them because they showed more heart and hustle. They treated every play like their last and gave it their all eventually, Team USA got worn out, and France took advantage and wrapped the game up. It was not Fournier's 28 but his ability to pick his teammates up and not give in despite the daunting challenge in front of them. Nicolas Batum's save and dime to Rudy Gobert, along with Yabusele's dive to save the ball followed by Fournier's three to increase their lead, are prime examples of why France won today. If they continue to play in this manner, the French have a great chance of winning the gold.

Team USA will have to pick themselves up from this defeat as they have no time to brood on it. The star-laden team will have to soon find their willpower and rhythm before they have any other shock defeats. It was predicted that this was not going to be an easy win for the Americans like the previous editions due to the significant rise in the talent of other teams as witnessed today. Kevin Durant will have to show up and lead from the front after pulling a Houdini act today.
Team USA will be looking for redemption when they face Nigeria on the 27th while the Les Bleus will be looking to build on this victory against Belgium.

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