OLYMPIC GAMES

France shock Team USA in basketball opener

France stunned Team US in the opening round match from Tokyo on Sunday night. Evan Fournier led the way for the french team scoring 28 points.

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France shock Team USA in basketball opener
MICHAEL REYNOLDS EFE

France has stunned the United States in the opening round match up of the Tokyo Olympics. Evan Fournier led Les Bleus with 23 points as the the United States loses at the Olympics for the first time since 2004.

Team USA dealt an early blow

The US side came into Tokyo 2020 the favorites to take home gold despite a pre tournament tour that was less than convincing for head coach Greg Popovic’s side. There were plenty of questions coming into today’s opening round match against France after team USA opened with back-to-back exhibition losses against Nigeria and Australia.

Covid concerns hampered the squads preparation for the Olympics after it was announced that Bradley Beal and Jerami Grant had entered health and safety protocol. Their second match with Australia was cancelled as a result and Popovic had to find a replacement for the Beal.

25 game win streak snapped

The quest for a fourth consecutive gold got off to a bumpy start on Sunday night in Tokyo, when the France topped the side formerly known as the dream team. The whispers of doubt hovering over Team USA coming into the tournament have now turned into alarms bells after the 25 game Olympic win streak was snapped by a team chalked full of NBA talent.

Team USA led by as many as 10 in the third quarter, but Kevin Durant picked up his fourth foul early in the second half. A nearly scoreless seven minute span followed just before the fourth quarter which allowed the French team to take the lead with 10 minutes left.

Fournier leds France and closes out USA with a late three

Each side had their share of the lead in the final quarter, but Evan Fournier’s three pointer with less than a minute to go secured the 83-76 win for the same French team that handed Team USA a defeat that knocked the Americans out of the World Cup two years ago.

Since that loss in the World Cup Team USA is just 3-5 with NBA players on the roster.

Fournier led the way with a fantastic 28 point performance, while Rudy Gobert scored 14 and Nando DeColo followed up with 13. Jrue Holiday was the top scorer for the tournament favorites, scoring 18 points, while Bam Adbayo had 12.

Iran a Czech Republic next up for Team USA

The Americans will now turn their attention to Wednesday’s game against Iran, and then will finish up group play against the Czech Republic on Saturday. If they win out, they will be a lock for the quarterfinals, but a loss could make things very stick for the reigning champs.