The U.S. men’s basketball team got tested once again by their Olympic opponents. It begs the question of whether team USA is slumping or if the rest of the world is just better than ever.
Sunday morning the USA was pushed to the brink by France. They narrowly escaped with a 100-97 victory. It seems as if the first two matches for team USA were exceptions as they’ve had trouble putting away every opponent since their blowouts of China and Venezuela.
The USA held a 12-point lead over France going into the fourth quarter that they saw cut to four with half of the fourth remaining. They were not able to create any distance but went on to survive by three points landing the top seed in Group A with a 5-0 record.
Klay Thompson was the player of the game for team USA who had only 11 points coming into Sunday’s match. He finished with 30 points and was 7-for-13 from three.
Defensive woes continue to haunt the Americans who have been exposed on the wing. They are having trouble with their opponents constant ball movement, backdoor cuts, and fighting over screens. Considering team USA’s last two contests motivation and focus may not be the issue. Instead, the Americans may be struggling with a lack of chemistry.
Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony are the only two American players with actual Olympic experience and six of them have no FIBA experience at all. There is a legitimate concern for the U.S. moving forward. Expectations should be brought down to reality as every game from here on out they’ll be met with close competition. The Americans are going up against squads who have been playing together for several years and multiple FIBA tournaments. Although the U.S has the most talent on their team at any given time, their competition has had worlds more playing time together. That continuity may translate to trouble for team USA down the line.