Evan Fournier popped off for 28 points and Rudy Gobert added 14 points and nine rebounds as France upset USA basketball 83-76 to open group play at the Tokyo Olympics. Jrue Holiday led the Americans with 18 points, but that was the only bright spot of the day.
Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard struggled from the floor, combining to go 7-22 as Team USA shot 37.3 percent as a team. The Americans were able to beat France from behind the arc and at the free throw line, but ultimately couldn’t overcome their rough shooting.
This was going to be a tough game for USA regardless of the roster, but the lack of major superstars is already becoming a factor. Only two members of USA’s 2016 team (Durant, Draymond Green) are part of the current Olympics roster, largely due to the NBA having a condensed season shortly after a grueling bubble to end the 2019-20 season.
Even NBA Finals reinforcements Holiday, Khris Middleton and Devin Booker couldn’t help Team USA overcome some roster deficiencies. Bradley Beal was taken off the roster due to COVID health and safety protocols and Jerami Grant did not play in the loss. Zach LaVine took the floor after being cleared, but didn’t get many opportunities to score.
USA will face Iran and the Czech Republic in the next two group games. They’ll need two wins to guarantee qualification, but a win and a loss may also put them in the knockout round if other results go their way.