The preparations for American basketball before the Olympics are not a good start.
The U.S. team lost to Nigeria in the first of five exhibition matches on Saturday night. The team coached by Mike Brown won 90-87, and they made a series of three-pointers-20 to be precise. Favored by 29.5 points.
However, American coach Gregg Popovich believes that failure may be a good thing.
“In a way, I’m glad it happened,” he said, every Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington“For us, this may be the most important thing in this game.”
Maybe this loss-and a tight game-is a good thing for the American team, but it doesn’t make it less surprising. In the first two games against Nigeria, the US team won by 44 and 83 points. It set a scoring record of 156 points in the 2012 London Olympics with a victory of 83 points.
Of course, this iteration of the Nigeria team is stronger than the country’s teams in the past few years. It has eight NBA players: Precious Achiuwa (Heat), Chimezie Metu (King), Jordan Nwora (Bucks), Jahlil Okafor (Pistons), Josh Okogie (Timberwolves), KZ Okpala (Heat), Miye Oni (Jazz) and Gabe Vincent (hot). The other two, Michael Gbinije and Ekpe Udoh, also have NBA experience.
Despite this, Twitter users praised the performance of the US team in this amazing defeat. In particular, users targeted Kevin Durant.
Suddenly: After Nigeria defeated the US team, Kevin Durant announced that he would join Nigeria for the remainder of the Olympic Games. pic.twitter.com/gn9dHl8ewJ
— ⁷ 𝗙𝗹𝘂 (@fludip) July 11, 2021
The U.S. team will seek to respond to its criticism and will rebound in the game against Australia on Monday (8pm Eastern Time). Exhibition before the second Olympic Games.