Basketball

France Serves USA Basketball Humble Pie

USA Basketball
Reuters / Brian Snyder

USA basketball for the first time since 2004 lost an Olympic game 83-76 and France ended the game on a 16-2 run. This ends a 24 game win streak dating back to Athens. France was lights out when it mattered most. On the other side, USA basketball couldn’t get out of their own way.

First Half

The US and France alternated scoring in the first quarter. But, neither team could get any rhythm from three-point range. Good defense and team effort by the Americans led to two back-to-back possessions where Jayson Tatum scored. One of which was one of his signature one handed dunks. The team led after one quarter 22-15. 

The trend of using everybody continued into the second quarter. Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday were available and got opportunities. Damian Lillard began to heat up with three shots from behind the arc. Kevin Durant had to be taken out after getting his third foul as the French began to come back. Nic Batum and Rudy Gobert were responsible for some great plays. 

The Americans took a timeout after France went on a tear and the lead was only 37-33. The US came roaring back with quick pace and a Zach Lavine dunk on the break. At that point, the fast break points were 11-2 in favor of the Americans. The red, white and blue had the halftime lead 45-37. 

Second Half

The third quarter started with France closing the gap and Durant getting his fourth foul. France went on a 12-3 run to tie the game at 52. Then, it was 22-7 at the end of the third quarter. France had the lead 62-56 after three.
Durant came back in for the fourth quarter out of necessity. Team USA was able to close the gap thanks to Holiday. They tied the game at 63 and eventually regained the lead. That warranted a France timeout after a 13-1 run. Holiday’s 18 points gave the Americans a spark. 

However, it was all for not as France came back again and a great hustle play by Guerschon Yabusele set up an amazing shot by Evan Fournier, and then Lillard falling and losing the ball to Fournier sealed the Americans fate. The salt in the wound was that Durant fouled out. Fournier finished with a game high 28 points. The US will need to regroup as they prepare for game two in Group A play against Iran.

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