Kevin Durant got himself into foul trouble early in the game as Team USA blew a 4-point lead and succumbed to a loss to France this morning.
If USA Basketball really needed a wake-up call, they have the loudest possible one now. This is the French national team’s second straight win over their cross-Atlantic rivals in international play.
However you might want to spin it, the implication is obvious – having NBA stars means nothing in FIBA play. All 3 of France, Nigeria and Australia have substantial NBA talent on their own rosters.
The difference between NBA stars and ‘role players’ seems to have thinned more than ever. Evan Fournier lit up the world’s most talented basketball setup for 28 points tonight.
He kept the French in the game by himself for the first half, which they spent trailing. It eventually got to a point where Kevin Durant had to sit with 4 fouls quite early in the 3rd quarter. Team USA began unraveling from that point onwards.
None of the numerous All-Stars and All-NBA players on USA’s roster got going. Damian Lillard and Jayson Tatum’s struggles were just symptoms – Team USA quite clearly hasn’t figured out offense in FIBA play.
NBA Twitter compares Kevin Durant to LeBron James after Team USA loss
This result wasn’t as shocking as their loss to Nigeria in warmup games 2 weeks ago for avid followers. But in terms of international play that counts, this was the first time that basketball fans worldwide saw an MVP-led USA roster falter since Tim Duncan’s days.
The reactions were knee-jerk, but they’re based in fact. Some of the more outrageous, yet true-sounding words look like the following.
Please don’t ever call Kevin Durant the best player in the world ever again lmao pic.twitter.com/3IsYUWPt5E
— jw (@iam_johnw2) July 25, 2021
“My next chapter” – Kevin Durant pic.twitter.com/jCnpUwxsE6
— (@FlamesNBA21) July 25, 2021
Breaking: Kevin Durant demands trade to France
— Chris Creamer (@sportslogosnet) July 25, 2021
LeBron James is everything Kevin Wayne Durant thinks he is. pic.twitter.com/rwkwJulILz
— Dat Nigga Mac!!! (@DA_MACKAVELI) July 25, 2021
Team USA could yet bounce back from this debilitating loss. But they’ve exposed their own vulnerabilities sorely for the world to see. Expect all their opponents to come at them with even greater intensity in the upcoming days.