The U.S. men’s basketball team has lost at the Olympics for the first time since 2004. The Americans’ bid for a fourth gold medal in a row is already in jeopardy.
With just under a minute left, Evan Fournier’s 3-pointer after a broken play put France up for good, as the Americans came apart in the waning minutes.
“They are better individually,” Fournier said of the Americans, “but they can be beaten as a team.”
The Americans missed their final nine attempts, five of which came in a 21-second span in the final minute after Fournier, who led all scorers with 28 points, nailed the game-winning 3-pointer.
“I think that’s a little bit of hubris if you think the Americans are supposed to just roll out the balls and win,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “We’ve got to work for it just like everybody else. And for those 40 minutes, they played better than we did.”
The Americans slipped to 53-4 at the Olympics with NBA players on the squad, losing for the sixth time in 144 games, reported AP News.
At the Athens Games in 2004, the 2004 team earned bronze after losing the other three. This team, like every single American team since the “Dream Team” in 1992, has a chance to win gold.
For France, Fournier had 28 points, Rudy Gobert had 14, and Nando de Colo had 13. Jrue Holiday led the Americans with 18 points, Bam Adebayo had 12, Damian Lillard had 11, and Kevin Durant had 10 for the Americans, who are just 2-3 in their summer games, with the first four being exhibitions in Las Vegas that weren’t meant to mean much.
“I mean, it’s great,” Gobert said. “But until we have what we want to have around our neck it doesn’t really matter.”
It was the first meeting between the United States and France since the quarterfinals of the Basketball World Cup two years ago, a game in which the Americans were defeated, reported Boston.
In that game, the United States was outrebounded 44-28, gave up 22 points on turnovers, and was outscored 22-5 in the final 7 12 minutes. The final score was France 89, USA 79, a loss that knocked the Americans out of medal contention and sent them down to a seventh-place finish, the worst ever for USA Basketball in any tournament including NBA players.