Team USA lost to a spirited display by the French national team yesterday led by Evan Fournier, who came up big in their Olympics opener.
The Olympics basketball tournament looks wide open and ready for the taking at the moment. Much-vaunted Team USA, who’re triple-defending champions in Tokyo, blew a 7-point lead in the closing stages to choke their game away against France.
Their crunch time offense fell apart as they went scoreless for over 3 minutes in the final frame. USA had the opportunity to take the lead with under a minute remaining. But they missed 3 wide open 3-pointers for the lead in succession, and that was curtains for the night.
“Evan Fournier was France’s focal point”: Tim Legler points out why Team USA stuttered offensively
Esteemed ESPN analyst Tim Legler was at hand after the game to analyze the outcome and the gameplay. He mentioned a few salient points explaining why Team USA looked so disjointed in defeat:
“Well it’s tough because listen, one of their problems that Team USA deals with when you throw together a group of basically NBA All-Stars, their roles are going to be completely different than what they are for their NBA teams.”
“As a result, you could see it in the way the 2 teams played, the difference. Evan Fournier was the guy that was clearly the focal point for Team France. So he gets 22 shots, he gets into a rhythm, he feels like he’s playing in an NBA game.”
“For team USA, it’s a little bit different. You go long stretches without getting touches or shots. The only player on their roster that really had a run was Jrue Holiday at the beginning of the 4th.”
“But for the most part, it’s a bunch of guys trying to figure out how to play a different role. Play together on the fly, very difficult. They have also lost that awe factor. When they played these guys in the past, the awe factor was worth 10, 15, 20 points.”
“These teams are not really intimidated because they have a lot of NBA players on their roster. They’re used to seeing these guys throughout the course of an NBA regular season and the postseason, so they’re not really intimidated.”
“But for me the biggest factor was that the French team look like a normal basketball team with a pecking order offensively. Other guys fill in roles. For Team USA, it’s really a ‘My turn, your turn’ type of offense.”