Nigeria Defeats USA in Exhibiton: Is Team USA In Trouble?

Team USA Guard Damian Lillard
(AP Photo/David Becker)

Nigeria defeated Team USA last night in Vegas with a score of 90-87. Also, at the end of the game, Team USA did not have enough time to tie the game or even to take the lead.

Before I get into the piece’s overreaction portion, there are two considerations for why Team USA was not as dominant. The first consideration is Team USA only started practicing this past Tuesday. In his postgame press conference, head coach Gregg Popovich spoke on this factor,

“I think with four days of practice, there were a lot of things I liked out there, but in a way, I’m kind of glad it happened”

Gregg Popovich head coach of Team USA basketball

Another consideration to take into fact is that the team was missing Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday. The reason that they did not play is that they are playing in the NBA Finals. They will join Team USA after the NBA Finals. The earliest that the three men can join the team is after Game Four if the Suns sweep the Bucks. The latest possible day is July 23rd if the Finals are to go to 7 games. The men would be available for when Team USA playing its first game against France on July 25th.

Is Team USA In Trouble?

After seeing Team USA in its opening game and struggling against Nigeria, the question is Team USA in trouble? I think the answer is yes. The reason why is throughout the game, the United States struggled to really break away from Nigeria. Throughout the game, when the United States had the lead, it would last a few minutes then Nigeria would take the lead. The reason for concern in the United States normally dominates opponents and last night; they could not break away.
In the pool play round, which begins July 25th, the United States will play France in its opening Olympic Match. Also, tomorrow, the United States will face Australia, which is ranked third by FIBA. So if the United States struggled against Nigeria, how will they fare against a top 3 team in the world? We will find out tomorrow night when the United States takes on Australia.

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