Nigeria Wins Historic Upset Over Team U.S.A. in Olympic Exhibition
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The US men’s basketball team were bowled over by Nigeria on Saturday night in their first exhibition match before the Tokyo Olympics, a stunning result though the effects are more symbolic than likely to affect eventual hopes. of gold medal of the United States.
Nigeria defeated an American team made up of All-NBA players, 90-87, at Mandalay Bay Arena in Las Vegas. It was the first victory for an African team over the United States Men’s National Team.
The loss drops the U.S. team’s record to 54-3 in exhibition games staged since 1992, when NBA players were first allowed to play at the Olympics. The team had not lost an exhibition match since 2019, a 98-94 overturned by Australia ahead of the FIBA World Cup.
Just nine years ago, the United States beat Nigeria, 156-73, at the 2012 London Olympics.
In Saturday’s stunner, Kevin Durant scored 17 points, a high for Team USA, Jayson Tatum tallied 15 and Damian Lillard added 14.
The trio were limited to 9 of 30 shots from the field, and their teammates seemed out of sync after the recent end of the NBA Playoffs and a short turnaround from the previous season. Players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry have abandoned consideration for the Olympics, but the list is still filled with players who are expected to win gold in Tokyo.
Nigeria’s roster includes a handful of NBA players, including Chimezie Metu of the Sacramento Kings, Josh Okogie of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Miye Oni of the Utah Jazz. The team is coached by Mike Brown, a Golden State Warriors assistant.
Nigeria have converted nearly half of their 40 3-point attempts against Team USA
Ike Iroegbu, who played in Washington state, scored 3 points with just over a minute to go and pushed Nigeria to an 88-80 lead. Durant responded with seven consecutive points. The Miami Heat’s Gabe Vincent, who scored a high of 21 points, made two free throws with 13.2 seconds left, helping to cement the surprise as the USA team failed to execute a play after a time-out called in the last seconds of the match.
“This loss means nothing if we don’t learn from it, but it may be the most important thing in this tournament for us to learn from it,” US coach Gregg Popovich told reporters. afterwards.
Jrue Holiday of Milwaukee, Khris Middleton and Devin Booker of Phoenix are expected to join the reigning three-time gold medalist in the United States following the NBA Finals.
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