If there was still any question, the USA’s 2021 Olympic opener proved they are no longer the dominant force in international basketball.
After leading by as many as 10 points in the first half, the United States was outscored 13-0 in the deciding moments of the fourth quarter before going on to lose 83-76 to France in the first game of group play for both teams at the 2021 Summer Olympics in Tokyo.
“We let one get away, but it’s a lot of things that we could have done better, including making shots,” said Damian Lillard. “Some moments it’s trying too hard to do the right thing. Instead of just being who we are, you know, the best players in the NBA. Shots just didn’t fall. We had opportunities down the stretch, didn’t make ‘em.”
The loss snaps a 25-game winning streak in Olympic play for the United States. Their last such loss came at the 2004 Olympics in Athens to Argentina.
Perhaps Sunday’s loss should not come as much of a surprise considering the United States lost to Nigeria and Australia in back-to-back to start their minicamp in Las Vegas. But when they followed up those losses with back-to-back wins versus Argentina and Spain before departing for Japan, one could at least argue they were rounding into form.
And when the USA went on a 16-4 run to take a 22-13 lead late in the first quarter against a…