USA basketball’s pre-Olympics tune-up just isn’t off to an excellent begin.
Team USA misplaced to Nigeria on Saturday night time within the first of its 5 exhibition video games. The Mike Brown-coached squad earned the 90-87 victory by dropping a barrage of 3-pointers — 20, to be precise — on its supposedly superior opponent, which was favored by 29.5 points.
Team USA coach Gregg Popovich thinks the defeat may very well be an excellent factor, nevertheless.
“In a way, I’m kind of glad it happened,” he mentioned, per NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. “It could be the most important thing in this tournament for us.”
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Maybe the loss — and enjoying a recreation that was tight down the stretch — can be good for Team USA, however that does not make it any much less stunning. In its earlier two video games towards Nigeria, Team USA had received by 44 and 83 factors. It set a scoring document with 156 within the 83-point victory on the 2012 London Olympics.
After all, this iteration of the Nigerian group is stronger than the nation’s squads from years previous. It options eight NBA gamers: Treasured Achiuwa (Warmth), Chimezie Metu (Kings), Jordan Nwora (Bucks), Jahlil Okafor (Pistons), Josh Okogie (Timberwolves), KZ Okpala (Warmth), Miye Oni (Jazz) and Gabe Vincent (Warmth). Two others, Michael Gbinije and Ekpe Udoh, even have NBA expertise.
Nonetheless, Twitter customers roasted Team USA for its efficiency within the beautiful defeat. Specifically, customers took purpose at Kevin Durant.
BREAKING: Following Nigeria’s upset win over Team USA, Kevin Durant has declared he can be becoming a member of Nigeria for the rest of the Olympics. pic.twitter.com/gn9dHl8ewJ
— ⁷ (@fludip) July 11, 2021
Team USA will look to reply its critics and bounce again towards Australia on Monday (8 p.m. ET) in its second pre-Olympics exhibition.