By Eurohoops team/ firstname.lastname@example.org
France did it again. After eliminating Team USA in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Evan Fournier and the company now got an 83-76 win over the Americans in the opening game of the Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA’s struggles during the prep games transferred to the Olympics and they suffered their first loss in the competition since 2004 in Athens. That means the American national team was on a 24-win run over the three Olympics up to this point. It is also their fourth loss overall since 1992 with all three beforehand coming in 2004.
Fournier was the driving force behind France’s multiple comebacks and was responsible for the crucial three-pointer at one minute remaining which gave his team a 76-74 lead and eventually the win. Neither team could find a basket amidst the crowded defense and the deal was set by free throws and France didn’t leave anything to chance.
Fournier finished with game-high 28 points on 11-22 from the field and was visibly taking on the leadership role offensively. Nando De Colo followed with 13 and Rudy Gobert with 14 points.
Gobert also grabbed nine boards and paint control was quite important for France as they had to go against a small-ball lineup. Vincent Poirier and Moustapha Fall also had a big presence under the basket.
The game was full of ups and downs with Team USA having an upper hand most of the time and France trying to turn things around. The USA was up ten (45-35) before halftime as well as by seven (74-67) but France managed to answer each time as they started hitting more and more deep shots after a slow first half.
Despite arriving late to Tokyo with a long flight soon after winning the NBA title, Jrue Holiday was the one putting on the biggest hustle for Team USA with 18 points and great defensive pressure. Bam Adebayo scored 12 and Damian Lillard 11 points.
Kevin Durant scored ten but was also in foul trouble during the second half which limited his playing time to 20 minutes and he did eventually foul out at the very end.
After this result, France and the Czech Republic which beat Iran are tied on the top of Group A.