For the first time since NBA players first started wearing red, white, and blue in 1992, Team USA has lost back-to-back exhibition games.
After falling to Nigeria 90-87 on Saturday, the Americans lost to Australia 91-83 in the second of five exhibition games before making a trip to the Tokyo Olympics. Coming into yesterday’s matchup, the team had been 54-2 in exhibition matches since the pros started playing. It took them a couple of days to double those losses.
These teams are experienced. They’ve spent a lot of time together. We’re still working at becoming a team.Damian Lillard
Byron Scott, former NBA player, and head coach, described Team USA’s loss to Nigeria as the biggest upset in the team’s history, even before they dropped another game to Australia. “Hopefully, that’s a wake-up call for them as well, that they’re not gonna cake walk through this,” Scott said. “They’re gonna have to be ready to play.”
Despite the losses, the USA basketball team is still the favorite to win the gold medal — they are still missing Jrue Holiday, Devin Booker, and Khris Middleton, who will be joining them after the NBA Finals. It’ll take some time for the group to gel and get accustomed to playing with each other, and Team USA’s road to gold medal might be tougher than expected. But when it’s all set in done, everyone still expects the Star Spangled Banner to play during the medal ceremony.
Scott himself feels the same way. However, he did single out a few teams talented enough to take the gold from the USA.
I think France will be good this year. Yugoslavia is always pretty good. Russia is always pretty good. There’s always gonna be one team; it could be China this year. There’s always gonna be one team that surprises you.Byron Scott, TMZSports
One thing’s for sure; neither Russia nor Yugoslavia won’t be the team that surprises you. The Russians failed to qualify for the tournament, and it’s been three decades since Yugoslavia ceased to exist.
France should be good though. However, I would still bet on Team USA, despite their performance leading up to the Olympics.
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