You could see coming due to his poor preparation and already in the first game of the Tokyo Games United States has suffered the first slap. The great favorite to gold has fallen 83-76 at the hands of France in his debut, thus seeing a streak of 25 wins in a row in the Olympic tournament, where they have not lost since 2004. A horrible second half has condemned the team of Gregg popovich, who after the break has only been able to score 31 points for 44 of his rival.
The Team USAHowever, he should have no problem reaching the quarter-finals as he is theoretically far superior to his other two group rivals, Czech Republic and Iran. Of course, he could do it as second in the group and that could bring him a much more complicated rival at the crossroads. Keep in mind that this year the format has changed and the quarterfinals will be defined by draw, with the first three in the group and the best second in a drum and the rest in the second. USES he risks, if he is not the best second, to cross in the quarters with another of the favorites of the tournament.
The American team dug its grave in the second half after having reached the break with a comfortable income (37-45) and having had a maximum advantage of 10 points at the beginning of the third quarter. However, with Kevin Durant many minutes on the bench due to foul problems, Team USA went through serious problems in attack that allowed France turned the game around with a 25-11 run in the third set. The outer points of Evan fournier, leading scorer of the Gauls with 28 points, and the interior dominance of Rudy gobert (14 points and 9 rebounds) found no response from an American team stubborn in the triple (10/32, 31%).
France faces the last quarter with a six-point advantage (62-56) but it seemed that the scare had come too early for the Americans, who were led by the guard Jrue Holiday They would turn the score around with a 1-13 run that put them six up with five minutes to go (63-69). The United States would still stretch its lead a little more (67-74) but from there it was nailed in an incomprehensible way.
A triple of Batum marked the turning point of the game, with France pressing on defense and scoring several baskets of enormous merit, especially a triple with which Fournier He returned the lead to the Gauls just over a minute to go (76-74) and after saving the new player from the Real Madrid Gerschon Yabusele a ball that was lost outside throwing in plate. The awakening of Nando de Colo, sublime in the final stretch, did the rest for the Gauls.
The Americans’ rim shrunk incredibly, missing three triples in a row Lillard, Durant Y LaVine in the next attack. The next gift was a slip from Lillard, who in addition to losing the ball committed an unsportsmanlike foul against Fournier. Impossible a worse endgame for Team USA, which was only able to score two free throws with ten seconds left in the last 3:41 of the game. France, who had already surpassed the Americans in the quarterfinals of the China World Cup 2019 (79-89) took advantage of it to repeat feat with a final 16-2 run.
That no one discards yet United States But don’t let anyone hang up the gold on them in Tokyo in advance. Its cracks have been exposed.
83 – France (12 + 22 + 25 + 21): De Colo (13), Yabusele (6), Fournier (28), Batum (5), Gobert (14) -initial quintet-, Heurtel (5), Luwawu Kongbo (2), Fall (7), Poirier (3) and Cornelie.
76 – United States (22 + 23 + 11 + 20): Lillard (11), LaVine (8), Adebayo (12), Durant (10), Green (2) -the starting five-, Holiday (18), Tatum ( 9), Booker (4), Johnson, McGee (2) and Middleton.
Referees: Guilherme Locatelli (BRA), Michael Weiland (CAN), Manuel Mazzoni (ITA). Eliminated by five personal fouls the American Kevin Durant (min. 39)
Incidents: match of the first day of Group A of the men’s basketball tournament of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, played at the Saitama Super Arena (Japan), without spectators due to the sanitary measures against the coronavirus pandemic.