U.S. Men's Basketball Team Loses Opening Game Against France for First Olympic Loss Since 2004
"We have to be more consistent," coach Gregg Popovich said after Team USA's loss
Better luck next time.
Team USA's men's basketball team lost to France during their first game in the group round stage of the Tokyo Summer Olympics, falling 83-76.
Although the team was still in the lead with just minutes left to go in the fourth quarter — partially thanks to an impressive run by Milwaukee Bucks guard Jrue Holiday — a series of missed shots and turnovers left them unable to secure a win.
The disappointing finish marked the U.S.'s first Olympic basketball loss since 2004, when the team fell to Argentina in the semifinals. It was also their second consecutive loss to France, following a previous defeat in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.
Leading up to the Olympics, the team also lost back-to-back exhibition games for only the third time since 1992.
"I think we showed for stretches of the game that we can move the ball and get good shots. And we showed for the stretches of the game that we can put stops together," forward Draymond Green said after the match.
"It's just staying consistent throughout the game and not having those spikes where they come back, we push the lead up, they come back, we push the lead up — obviously, basketball is a game of runs, but it's something that we couldn't begin with and we have to do," he added.
Acknowledging that the team was "disappointed" by their loss, coach Gregg Popovich refused to call the team's loss a surprise.
"I think that's a little bit of hubris if you think the Americans are supposed to just roll out the ball and win. I mean, we've got to work for it just like everybody else," he said. "And for those 40 minutes, they played better than we did."
"We have to be more consistent," he continued. "We had two nine-point leads and one 10-point lead, and then an eight-point lead at the end of the game, and we gave all of those up because of lack of consistent defense, too many errors. We had, on offense, dry possessions where we didn't move and took ill-advised shots. So you understand it, you look at it, and you go to work and you try to get better."
The team will have another chance at victory later this week, playing Iran on Wednesday.
To learn more about Team USA, visit TeamUSA.org. Watch the Tokyo Olympics now on NBC.