USA Basketball Lost To Nigeria In Its First Olympic Tune-Up Game

The United States men’s basketball team fell in its first game before the 2020 Summer Olympics in Tokyo. The Americans took on Nigeria on Saturday night, and thanks to a scorching hot shooting performance by the Nigerians, they managed to come out on top, 90-87.

While this game was expected to be more competitive than their face off at the 2012 Olympics — the Americans won comfortably that day, 156-73 — no one expected Mike Brown’s Nigeria side to head to Vegas and pick up the win. But behind a 21-point performance from Miami Heat reserve guard Gabe Vincent and 17 from Caleb Agada of Israel-based side Hapoel Be’er Sheva, the Nigerians were able to overcome being viewed as a 28.5-point underdog.

In response to the win, the official Twitter account of the Nigerian basketball team took a well-deserved victory lap.

There was even a joke at the expense of Team USA center Bam Adebayo, who was eligible to represent Nigeria but opted to play for the Americans.

The American offense was stagnant for much of the night, but they had just enough firepower to stay in it late. Unfortunately for them, one of the strangest offensive possessions we’ve seen in some time capped off the night. Down by three with a hair over 13 seconds left, the United States appeared to run a play for Zach LaVine that simply took far too long. By the time he was fouled — he’d go on to miss both from the charity stripe — the amount of time remaining on the clock did not let them do much of anything.

It also didn’t help that the Nigerians played some spectacular basketball — the side played with a chip on their shoulders all evening, with guys like Miami Heat youngster Precious Achiuwa sending an attempted layup by Kevin Durant into the stands with authority.

With the caveat that this is an exhibition without three players expected to contribute due to their playing in the NBA Finals, this was a rough loss for the Americans, which enter every game during Olympic season with aspirations of winning big. USA Basketball will try to right the ship on Monday, July 12, during its next tune-up game against a pesky Australian team that has aspirations of winning a medal, even though standout guard Ben Simmons opted to pass on going to Tokyo.

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