Credit: FIBA
Credit FIBA

France (1-0) started their journey in Tokyo Olympic Games with a spectacular win over Team USA (0-1). Vincent Collet’s team led by Evan Fournier beat the Americans 83-76 (15-22, 22-23, 25-11, 21-20).

Player of the Game
Rudy  Gobert
EFF
17
Rudy Gobert
Points 14
Accuracy 5-6
Rebounds 9
Assists 1

It was the first Team USA Olympic loss since 2004 when the Americans were defeated by Argentina.

Fournier finished with 28 points (7/10 2PT, 4/12 3PT, 2/3 FT), 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, 5 turnovers, and 17 PIR in 34 minutes of playing time.

"I have a different role (compared to the NBA),” said Fournier after the win. “The team wants me to score. I have to be more aggressive; I have to look for my shot. When I was in Boston, I was playing with JT (Jayson Tatum) and JB (Jaylen Brown) and all these guys, so it was just a different role.”

With 5:24 left to play in the fourth quarter, Kevin Durant knocked down a free throw after the French bench got a technical foul, Jrue Holiday made a 3-pointer, moments later added a mid-range jumper, and the Americans led 69-63.

Despite that, Nicolas Batum answered with a 3-pointer, Evan Fournier added another deep jumper, and with 2:24 left to play, Frenchmen cut their deficit to two points (72-74).

After that, Rudy Gobert made one free throw, Guerschon Yabusele added a 3-pointer, and France took the lead - 76-74.

Credit FIBA

The Americans were trying to find an answer, and Durant and Holiday were left open, but both of them missed their 3-pointers. Team USA got four offensive rebounds in one possession but still couldn’t find a basket, and with 23 seconds left, France secured the basketball.

Moments later, De Colo made both free throws, and France's lead increased to 4 points (78-74).

Gregg Popovich took the timeout, but during the inbound play, Damian Lillard slipped, then tripped Fournier, and The Portland Trail Blazers star was handed an unsportsmanlike foul, which secured France's victory.

"People shouldn't be surprised that the French team or the Australian team or the Spanish team or the Lithuanian team (could beat us),” said Gregg Popovich. “It doesn't matter who it is -the gap in talent shrinks every year, as there are more and more great players all over the world. And you need to give the French team credit for playing well; they were more consistent than we were at both ends of the court. It's as simple as that."

For the Frenchmen, Rudy Gobert added 14 points (5/6 2PT, 4/8 FT), 9 rebounds, and a team-high 19 PIR.

Fournier also got a lot of praise from his head coach, who emphasized the importance of his guard.

"Evan was amazing,” Collet said. “I don't want to use big, big, big words, but he made some very big shots. To have that kind of performance, you need consistency, for sure. This is the most important (thing).”

Meanwhile, it wasn’t the best night for Durant, who got in early foul trouble. The Brooklyn Nets star only took 11 minutes of playing time to get 4 personal fouls and eventually fouled out after playing almost 21 minutes.

He finished the game with 10 points (3/6 2PT, 1/6 3PT, 1/1 FT), 2 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 rebounds, and 6 PIR.

Team USA was led by Holiday, who scored 18 points (2/7 2PT, 3/6 3PT, 5/6 FT) and also got 7 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 steal, 1 turnover, and a game-high 20 PIR.

Popovich praised such a display and couldn’t find an explanation for such a performance.

"I'm not a doctor or a psychologist to explain it. He just did what he did. It's just a testament to his character and his competitiveness; he was great, he kept us in the game. And that's just who he is. So you gotta give him credit for that."

“I think it’s just competing, being competitive,” said Holiday himself. “This is the first time me being on the stage, so you always want to make an impression. I tried as hard as I can.”

Team USA was the first one to get a solid lead. Jrue Holiday knocked both of his free throws, Zach LaVine and Holiday each made a 3-pointer, and at the end of the second quarter, Team USA led by as many as 10 points (45-35).

However, Evan Fournier started the third quarter with two straight 3-pointers, Rudy Gobert made a dunk and France returned to the game (45-49). After that, both teams were battling back and forth.

Fournier alone scored 10 points in the third period, while the whole Team USA got only 11.

France: Evan Fournier 28 (7/10 2PT, 4/12 3PT, 5 TO), Rudy Gobert 14 (5/6 2PT, 4/8 FT, 9 REB), Nando De Colo 13 (2/5 3PT, 5 REB, 5 AST), Moustapha Fall 7 (5/6 FT).

Team USA: Jrue Holiday 18 (2/7 2PT, 3/6 3PT, 5/6 FT, 7 REB, 4 AST), Bam Adebayo 12 (5/8 2PT, 10 REB), Damian Lillard 11 (3/9 3PT, 4 TO), Kevin Durant 10 (1/6 3PT), Jayson Tatum 9 (1/5 3PT, 2 BLK), Zach LaVine 8 (2/4 3PT).

UP NEXT:

The USA will face Iran on Wednesday.

France will face the undefeated Czech Republic on Wednesday.

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Anonymous
france shocked usa
2021-07-25
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Prancūzijos rinktinė
JAV rinktinė
47%
29/62
Field goals
36%
25/69
42
Rebounds
36
18
Assists
23
5
Steals
8
0
Blocks
4
71%
17/24
Free throws
76%
16/21

Best players

Evan  Fournier
28 PTS
11/22 FG
2/3 FT
Jrue  Holiday
18 PTS
5/13 FG
5/6 FT
Rudy  Gobert
9 REB
7 DREB
2 OREB
Bam  Adebayo
10 REB
6 DREB
4 OREB
France
Few players
5 As
USA
Few players
4 As
Rudy  Gobert
17 EFF
83% 2P%
- 3P%
Jrue  Holiday
18 EFF
29% 2P%
50% 3P%