The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

U.S. men’s basketball is out of wake-up calls after late-game collapse in loss to France

Kevin Durant looks on as time winds down during Sunday's loss to France. (Toni L. Sandys/The Washington Post)

SAITAMA, Japan — When the U.S. men’s basketball team lost its exhibition opener to Nigeria this month, Coach Gregg Popovich said that he was “kind of glad it happened” and that it “could be the most important thing in this tournament for us.”

That defeat, pitched as a wake-up call, was followed by another two nights later, to Australia. After a long flight to Japan and nearly a week to prepare, Team USA promptly lost its Olympic opener to France in ominous and perplexing fashion. The French climbed out of a seven-point hole in the final four minutes to claim an 83-76 victory Sunday, then barely batted an eyelash after dealing the Americans their first Olympic loss since 2004.

“They are better individually,” France guard Evan Fournier said. “But they can be beaten as a team.”  
Live contributors End of carousel

More about the Tokyo Olympics

The Tokyo Olympics have come to a close.