France opens up Olympic tournament play with an upset win against Team USA. France ends the game on a 16-2 run to defeat the tournament favorites. However, Nicolas Batum and the France squad feel their upcoming match with the Czech Republic is more important.
Team USA lost its first Olympic game since 2004. As a result, other countries are not fearing the United States as they have in the past.
"Big 1st victory to start the tournament, even more important match Wednesday against the Czech Republic."Nicolas Batum
Team USA is off to a slow start this summer. The team lost two exhibition games before making the trip to Tokyo. On the other hand, France is looking to build off this performance in their next game against the Czech Republic.
Evan Fournier came up big for France with 28 points. Jrue Holiday led Team USA with 18 points of his own. Holiday joined the team late after he won an NBA championship this past week in Milwaukee.
Head coach Gregg Popovich praised Holiday for his efforts down the stretch. In addition, he adds that the team needs to be more consistent.
"It’s just a testament to his character and his competitiveness, he kept us in the game. That’s just who he is.”Gregg Popovich
Batum's comments make it clear that France does not fear USA Basketball. Unfortunately, team USA does not look like the teams we have seen in the past. They will have to bounce back in their next game against Iran if they want to secure a fourth straight gold medal.
Damian Lillard and the rest of the team know this next game will be important if they want to turn this around.
“The next one is the most important one. We lost this one tonight. We’ve got to get the next one.”Damian Lillard
Nicolas Batum and France are now turning their focus towards the Czech Republic. On the other hand, Team USA looks to avoid losing and risk an early exit in this year's games.