France snapped Team USA’s 25-game Olympic win streak in men’s basketball Sunday (July 25) by defeating the Americans 83-76 in the first round of the Tokyo Olympics. Team USA hadn’t lost since 2004 — dating back to the Athens Games where the squad settled for a bronze medal.
Two NBA players — Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier — helped lead their home country to victory. Fournier scored a game-high 28 points for France, while Rudy Gobert chipped in 14 points and nine rebounds. Nando de Colo scored 13, rounding out the only French players to reach double figures.
Jrue Holiday joined the American team fresh from winning an NBA championship with the Milwaukee Bucks this week. Coming off the bench, he put up 18 points to lead the U.S. Bam Adebayo recorded a double-double scoring 12 points and grabbing 10 rebounds and Damian Lillard contributed 11 points. Kevin Durant scored an underwhelming 10 points, going 4-12 from the field. It also didn’t help he got into foul trouble early. The Americans, altogether, hit just 36% of their shots.
After going up by 10 points in the third quarter, Team USA watched their lead dwindle as France’s De Colo hit several big shots. De Colo’s 3-pointer with 2:42 left in the third helped put France up 55-54. De Colo scored another basket to give his team a 59-56 lead, then Thomas Huertel made a 3-pointer giving France a 62-56 advantage going into the final quarter. Team USA’s cold streak came at the worst moment as they missed all their attempts throughout the final four-and-a-half minutes. Many of their shots were uncontested.
The U.S. can still win a gold medal but they need to win their next two games. The Americans will take on Iran on Wednesday (July 28) and then the Czech Republic on Saturday (July 31) in its final two Group A games. If they manage to win both of those, they will qualify for the quarterfinals.