Team USA’s men’s basketball team suffered a truly shocking upset loss on Saturday night, falling to Nigeria in the first of five exhibition games prior to the Summer Olympics.
Gregg Popovich’s team lost to Nigeria, 90-87, in a warmup contest for the Olympics in Tokyo, Japan.
Team USA was without a couple of key players, as the Bucks vs. Suns NBA Finals series is ongoing. However, the Americans still started Damian Lillard, Bradley Beal, Jayson Tatum, Kevin Durant and Bam Adebayo. The U.S. had players like Draymond Green and Zach LaVine coming off of the bench, too.
That wasn’t enough to beat Nigeria, though.
“I thought that the Nigerian team played very physically, did a great job in that regard and knocked down a lot of 3s,” Popovich said. “Give them credit.”
Nigeria, meanwhile, was led by Gabe Nnamdi, who goes by Gabe Vincent when playing for the Miami Heat. He had 21 points in the upset win over the United States.
Popovich had a brutally honest admission following the loss.
“In a way, I’m kind of glad it happened… it could be the most important thing in this tournament for us,” the head coach said.
Gregg Popovich on Team USA losing to Nigeria: “In a way, I’m kind of glad it happened… it could be the most important thing in this tournament for us.”
— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) July 11, 2021
There could be some truth to that, but losing as a near 30-point favorite is never a good thing.
Team USA will be back on the floor on Monday night for an exhibition game against Australia.