After Team USA suffers a shocking loss to Nigeria, Jayson Tatum gives an honest take, revealing that the team has to play better.
Over the past couple of decades, basketball was a USA dominated sport. Even though the sport is now more worldwide than before, the United States has the best group of players out there. Proving their dominance, the Men’s Basketball Team of the USA has won the Gold Medal at the Olympic Games a whopping 15 out of 19 times, since 1936.
Even this year, the USA has built up an incredibly strong team to represent them at the 202 Tokyo Olympic Games. The team is filled with All-Stars and futures Hall-Of-Famers, led by Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal amongst several other superstars. This team is the strong favourites to win their 16th Olympic gold medal in the coming Games, looking to be the deadliest team on paper.
“We have to play better”: Jayson Tatum following Team USA’s shocking loss against Nigeria
On Saturday night, an exhibition game was organised between Team USA and Nigeria at the Mandalay Bay Events Center in Las Vegas. Even though Gregg Popovich’s team is the most talented team in the whole world, the young Nigerian team unexpectedly defeated Team USA 90-87.
Saturday night’s defeat was Team USA’s only third-ever defeat since 1992, which would definitely hurt their morale, and proving it to everyone that Team USA is indeed beatable.
However, according to Jayson Tatum, the loss had to do a lot with the lack of chemistry amongst the players more than anything. In a postgame speech, the Celtics superstar honestly said:
“I don’t know the exact answer (on when we’ll be able to gel). It’s only been four days and we’re making strides. None of us have ever played with each other. So, we’re just trying to figure it out. We know we don’t have three or four weeks or whatever it may be.”
“It just kind of goes to show that, you know, we have to play better. And, on any given night, the team that plays harder and is more physical—anybody can win. It’s something we can learn from.”
With less than two weeks remaining for the start of the 2021 Olympic Games, Team USA have a limited amount of time to get it together. Kevin Durant and co. have a few more exhibition games lined up before they leave for Tokyo. The team definitely needs to improve their chemistry and players quickly need to find their roles if they want to win their fourth-consecutive gold medal at the prestigious sporting event.