Ahead of Team USA’s final group matchup against the Czech Republic, head coach Gregg Popovich hilariously told Jayson Tatum to imagine he’s playing the San Antonio Spurs. The forward ended up scoring a game-high 27 points in a 119-84 win.
After having lost to Australia and Nigeria in their exhibition games, and dropping their Olympic Games opener to France, Team USA has finally found its winning ways. Kevin Durant and co. defeated Iran by a magnificent 54 points difference, and followed that game with yet another huge win against the Czech Republic.
Despite shockingly trailing the Czech 25-18 in the first quarter, The American team came out much stronger and looked like the dominant team they are from the second quarter onwards to end up winning the matchup 119-84.
It was a historic night for KD, who ended up with 23 points and surpassed Carmelo Anthony as the top scorer in USA Olympic history. However, it was Boston Celtics superstar, Jayson Tatum who got things going for his national team, recording a game-high 27 points, on 62/50/66 shooting splits in the 24 minutes of playing time he saw.
Gregg Popovich hilariously tells Jayson Tatum to act like he’s playing against the San Antonio Spurs ahead of Team USA’s matchup against the Czech Republic
In the first two games of this Olympic campaign, Tatum had a subpar 9-point and a mediocre 14-point performance against France and Iran respectively. What could possibly be the motivating factor for JT, which helped him score an outstanding 27-point performance during the USA’s bout against the Czech?
Head coach Gregg Popovich hilariously told the 23-year-old to act like he was playing the San Antonio Spurs right ahead of the USA-Czech matchup. This is what the San Antonio coach told Jayson:
“I just told Jayson to act like he’s playing the Spurs. Every time he plays us he scores 90.”
— gary washburn (@GwashburnGlobe) July 31, 2021
Pop isn’t wrong at all. This past year, in Tatum’s two encounters against SAS, the 2-time All-Star exploded for 42.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game. JT even dropped his career-high 60 points against the Spurs as he led the Celtics to complete the third-biggest comebacks in NBA history.
Now that the defending gold medallists have entered the knockout stages of the tournaments, Gregg will surely be expecting Tatum to have a huge role in Team USA’s successes. Kevin Durant and co. have finished their Tokyo 2020 Group stages placing second in Group A with a whopping 82-point difference. Despite their one unexpected loss against France, team USA will surely be a favourite to win the gold medal for the fourth consecutive time.