What does losing to Australia and Nigeria before the 2021 Olympics mean for the U.S. men’s basketball team

Back in the 1992 Barcelona Olympics, opponents of the “Dream Team” seemed more willing to take photos with NBA All-Stars rather than trying to stop them. Yes, that is now a distant memory.

The U.S. men’s basketball team loses for the second consecutive year Exhibition game In the 91-83 loss to Australia on Monday night, First mark Since professional players started participating in the game in 1992, it has lost back-to-back exhibition matches. Before this difficult game, the US team had a 54-2 record in the exhibition match.

Joe Ingles, who scored 17 points in the Australian victory, was asked what it means to beat the American team.

Ingles said: “I mean, this may not be the answer you are looking for, but we walked into this game tonight in hopes of winning.”

more: The best highlights from the U.S. and Australia

The Jazz forward is likely to represent some other countries eager to win gold medals. The U.S. team quickly understood that just wearing the red, white and blue jerseys does not guarantee victory, but as the Tokyo Olympics is approaching, what does the defeat of Australia and Nigeria mean?

Let’s break it down in a question-and-answer format-because fans of the US team may ask themselves many questions.

The US team lost two games in a row. Will Americans miss the 2021 Olympics? !

No, don’t panic. The US team has won a place in the Tokyo Olympics. It will be in Group A with the Czech Republic, France and Iran.

So everything is fine, will the US team solve the problem?

Well, if you listen to American coach Gregg Popovich, the Americans have nothing to worry about.

“I’m very happy. I think we got better tonight,” Popovich said after losing to Australia. “After a short time together, there are a lot of things to cover, but the first half and the second half are two different beasts. In the first half, we defended the way we wanted, and we defended Nigeria the way we didn’t. We are more physically strong. . Our defense lasts longer. We rebound better. We move the ball better and faster on the offensive end.

“In the second half, we were exhausted. When this happens, your spirit will also take a little bit, and we did not maintain the rebound in the same way. The defense is different. Our pace is different… in general It’s totally understandable to say that we need more training. We just stick to the process of trying to get better in each game. We did it tonight, so I’m satisfied with what I saw.”

Although it may be a bit premature to press the panic button, it is shocking to hear the American men’s basketball coach talk about improvements and moral victory. Unsurprisingly, Popovich tried to view the results as positive, but the fact is that the American team should not lose these games with their level of talent.

Why is the American team struggling so much?

As Popovich pointed out, defense and rebounding are two games. The U.S. team leads 78-59, with opponents shooting 48.2% from the field and 45.5% from three-pointers. This is the secret of disaster.

A surprising question: The US team looks a little bit wrong at a critical juncture. Although stars such as Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard could take over at any time, the team’s performance in the fourth quarter was defeated. Nigeria postponed a comeback attempt on Saturday, and Australia defeated the American team 11-1 in the last four and a half minutes of Monday. The later game execution must be good.

But what is the biggest problem here?

The biggest culprit seems to be the lack of chemistry and familiarity with this group. This sounds like an excuse, but what can’t be ignored is that these guys are learning to play together in a different environment from the NBA. The coaching staff and players should eliminate the embarrassment that ended with shrugs and confused expressions.

“For me, the first thing that comes to mind is that these teams are experienced. They spent a lot of time together,” Lillard said. “We are still trying to be a team and still keep our legs under us and keep in shape. We don’t just come here, pass the ball and beat these teams. We have to play in the right way, In competition, we must stand up and win, and do everything we can to give ourselves the best chance of winning.

“If we don’t, we may be defeated. This is the most prominent thing for me after the first two.”

How does the US team get back on track?

More game representatives with different five-player units will naturally lead to overall improvements. Popovich told reporters that the starting lineup is not important because he just wants to see how different player combinations work together. In the long run, this kind of experiment may pay off.

“I think the more time we spend together on the court, the better we will get to know each other. We will find a way to move the ball,” Lillard said. “We thought a little too much, tried to run, tried to stay away from each other and tried to do the right thing too much. But I think that starting tonight, we have a better rhythm. We pushed the ball up. We kept it simple, we attacked. .

“We pitched and made extra passes, sometimes too many, but I think it just shows that we are moving in the right direction and understanding each other.”

At the end of the 2021 NBA Finals, joining Devin Booker, Jru Holiday and Chris Middleton will also help. Holiday in particular should provide motivation for his elite perimeter defense.

However, in the final analysis, the success (or failure) of the US team will be largely due to consistent intensity and focus. This message has been conveyed loudly and clearly to the Americans: The best list on paper can only make a team come to this day.

The U.S. team will still win the gold medal, right?

The US team is still the favorite to win the gold medal at the 2021 Olympics. But as we have already learned, it doesn’t mean much to be the most popular now.

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