U.S. has first Olympic hoops loss since ’04
France went on a 14-0 run late in the fourth quarter to stun Team USA 83- 76 on Sunday in the Group A opener for both men’s basketball teams at the Tokyo Olympics.
After a pair of free throws from Devin Booker gave the Americans a 74-67 lead with 3:41 to play, France reeled off the next 14 points before giving up a pair of free throws to Damian Lillard with 10 seconds remaining.
Boston Celtics swingman Evan Fournier scored a teamhigh 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting as France snapped a 25-game Olympic winning streak by the U. S. dating back to 2004.
“When you lose a game, you’re not surprised,” Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said. “You’re disappointed. I don’t understand the word ‘surprised.’ That sort of disses the French team, as if we’re supposed to beat them by 30. That’s a hell of a team.”
Fournier scored six points over the final two and a half minutes.
“They are better individually,” Fournier said. “But they can be beaten as a team.”
Utah Jazz All-star Rudy Gobert and Turkish League pro Nando De Colo added 14 and 13 points, respectively, for the French squad.
Jrue Holiday of the Milwaukee Bucks led the U.S. squad with 18 points on just 5-of-13 shooting. The Miami Heat’s Bam Adebayo (12), Lillard (11) and Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant (10) were the only other American players to reach double figures.
The U.S. team shot just 36.2% (25-of-69) overall and missed 22 of its 32 3-point attempts.
Next up for Team USA in Group A play is Iran (0-1) on Wednesday, followed by the Czech Republic (1-0) on Saturday.