Nets star Kevin Durant knows most of the world is rooting against Team USA, and their stunning exhibition losses emboldened their foes that they can be beaten.
But Durant said it also reminded Team USA they can be beaten, reinforced they’ll need to earn their way to Olympic gold in Tokyo. And that’s a good thing.
“Yeah, yeah, I feel like we’re understanding what coach [Gregg Popovich] wants from us on both ends of the floor,” Durant said after Team USA practice. “I feel like guys are getting more comfortable with each other in their roles on a team, and that’s only going to go well for us as we start to play real games.
“So it was good to kind of get a punch in the mouth early on to remind us that there’s not going to be a cakewalk. So many people were used to Team USA coming in blowing everybody out, so it was good for us to see that. Now hopefully those are the last losses.”
Durant and Popovich are counting on those upset losses to Nigeria and Australia in their first two exhibition games back in Las Vegas having gotten Team USA’s full attention. But they’ve certainly gotten their foes’ attention as well, buoying the hopes of teams like France coming into Sunday’s preliminary-round opener.
The Kevin Durant-led Team USA has stumbled in its Olympic exhibition matchups.Getty Images
“Every team wants to beat us. Everybody…