untung99.biz: US mens basketball team lose at Olympics for first time since 2004

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For the first time since 2004, the US men’s basketball team have lost in the Olympics. And the US team’s quest for a fourth consecutive gold medal is already in doubt. France, the team that knocked them out of contention in the Basketball World Cup two years ago, dealt the US a major blow once again. Evan Fournier’s three-pointer with just under a minute left put France ahead in what became a 83-76 win over the Americans on Sunday in the opening game for both teams at the Tokyo Olympics.

The US had won 25 consecutive Olympic games, last losing at the Athens Games 17 years ago, when they had to settle for the bronze medal. Fournier, who plays for the Boston Celtics in the NBA, had 28 points for France, while Rudy Gobert scored 14 and Nando de Colo had 13. Jrue Holiday had 18 points for the US, Bam Adebayo had 12, Damian Lillard 11 and Kevin Durant had 10. The US have won two and lost three of their games this summer.

The first four of those were exhibitions in Las Vegas that weren’t supposed to mean much. The Olympics, though, were supposed to be different. Going back to the World Cup in China two years ago, the US have won three and lost five in their last eight games with NBA players in the lineup.

The loss doesn’t knock the US out of medal contention, but it essentially eliminates the margin for error. They play Iran on Wednesday and then the Czech Republic on Saturday in their final two Group A games, and if they win both they will be in the quarter-finals. Lose another one and the US may not finish in the top eight of this 12-team tournament.

There are some extenuating circumstances for the Americans. There have been withdrawals in the lead up to the Olympics and Holiday flew in late after helping the Milwaukee Bucks win the NBA finals last week. France are also a strong team with several NBA standouts, not least Gobert who is a three-time NBA defensive player of the year. Many of the NBA’s biggest stars such as LeBron James, Stephen Curry and James Harden are also absent for the US but they are still heavy favorites to win gold. Or at least they were.

It was the first time the US and France played since the quarter-finals of the Basketball World Cup two years ago, a game that the Americans lost. France have seven players on their Olympic roster from that team. The US have only two, but the importance wasn’t lost on the other 10, who had heard plenty about that game. In a largely empty arena near Tokyo on Sunday night, France did it again, dealing the US an even bigger blow and registering another clear sign that the rest of the world is fast catching up on the US in basketball.