Team USA Men's Basketball Team Loses Back-to-Back Exhibition Games for Only Third Time Since 1992
There's a first for everything.
Team USA's men's basketball team lost to Australia during an exhibition game in Las Vegas on Monday, falling 91-83. The upset comes after the club fell in stunning fashion to Nigeria 90-87 on Saturday night as they prepare for the upcoming Tokyo Olympics.
It's only the third time the team — which includes NBA stars like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Draymond Green — has lost back-to-back games since active NBA players began suiting up for USA Basketball in 1992.
"I thought we got better tonight," Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said after the loss, according to ESPN. "After a short time together, there's a lot of things that have to be covered."
Outside of winning bronze in the 2004 Olympics, Team USA has brought home the gold for every Games since the "Dream Team" was formed.
"We walked into this game expecting to win," NBA player Joe Ingles, who plays for Australia, said of their victory. "No disrespect to them, they're a hell of a team, obviously the guys they've got on their roster and Pop standing up there is always nice to see, but we came in here expecting to win the game and that's what we did."
Lillard, who plays for the Portland Trailblazers, hinted that the U.S. team needs more time to find their chemistry.
"These teams are experienced and they've spent a lot of time together," he told reporters, according to ESPN. "We are still working at becoming a team."
After the game, Popovich went viral for a heated exchange with a reporter who asked Lillard how it felt to have watched other USA Basketball teams "blow" past the competition, while they now sit in a 0-2 deficit ahead of the Tokyo Olympics later this month.
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"When you make statements about, in the past just blowing out these other teams, number one, you give no respect to the other teams, and I talked to you last time about the same thing," Popovich responded, as noted by NBC Sports. "We've had very close games against four or five countries in all these tournaments. So, the good teams do not get blown out."
"There are certain games that might happen in one of the tournaments in the world championship and the Olympics where somebody gets blown out," he added. "But, in general, nobody is blowing anybody out for the good teams."
Help may be on the way for Team USA soon enough — Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday will join the team once the NBA Finals between the Phoenix Suns and Milwaukee Bucks come to an end.