The U.S Men’s basketball team began its Olympic exhibition games Saturday night with four practices under their belt but it didn’t go as planned, Team USA falling to Nigeria, 90-87, in what was a historic upset ... and Kevin Durant’s first loss in the red, white and blue.
Durant led the way for Team USA and delivered late-game hope, drilling two right-wing threes but it was all too late. Although Durant finished the exhibition opener with a tough shooting performance — 4-of-13 from the field (30.8 percent) and 2-of-5 from three (40.0 percent) — he scored a team-high 17 points to go with five rebounds, and four assists in a game-high 28 minutes. The Nets superstar hit seven of his eight free-throw attempts in the upset loss.
Beyond his offensive play, Durant utilized his length and size to forge extra effort opportunities defensively. While a majority of KD’s defensive play won’t appear on the final box score, Durant did register two steals.
Not everything went Durant’s way, however.
Precious Achiuwa denied KD's dunk attempt— The Athletic NBA (@TheAthleticNBA) July 11, 2021
Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said post-game that he thought the defeat could be a good thing.
“In a way, I’m kind of glad it happened,” he said, per NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes. “It could be the most important thing in this tournament for us.”
Team USA will return to action on Monday when the team faces Australia in their second exhibition. The game is scheduled to tip at 8:00 p.m. ET and will be televised by NBC Sports. Adam Caporn, the newly appointed head coach of the Long Island Nets, is an assistant for the “Boomers.”