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Team USA men suffer first Olympic basketball loss since 2004 as France seal upset in Group A opener

·1-min read
Team USA men suffer first Olympic basketball loss since 2004 as France seal upset in Group A opener

The USA have suffered their first Olympic defeat in the men’s basketball tournament since 2004.

Gregg Popovich’s star-studded side - which includes top-tier NBA talent such as Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, Draymond Green, Damian Lillard, Jrue Holiday and Jayson Tatum, among others - went down 83-76 to France in a big Group A upset at the Saitama Super Arena on Sunday.

The US men’s team have won gold at all but three Games since basketball first appeared as an official Olympic medal event in 1936, with their only blips coming in the form of bronze medals in 1988 and 2004. America boycotted the Moscow Olympics in 1980.

Not since an 89-81 semi-final ousting by Argentina in Athens 17 years ago had they tasted defeat at the Olympics, with that Day Two loss just their sixth ever suffered at the Games (compared to 139 wins).

France were led by 28 points from Boston Celtics shooting guard Evan Fournier, while they also have the likes of reigning NBA defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert, Nicolas Batum and Frank Ntilikina in their ranks.

The USA - who also lost to France in the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarter-finals - will hope to bounce back swiftly against Iran on Wednesday having also suffered successive surprise exhibition losses to Nigeria and Australia in the build-up to Tokyo.

 (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The French, yet to win a medal in Olympic men’s basketball, are next in action against the Czech Republic, meanwhile.

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