Team USA’s men’s basketball campaign at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics got off to the worst possible start with an 83-76 defeat to France.
Gregg Popovich’s side were outplayed by the French, but the coach defended his side from criticism.
“I think that’s a little bit of hubris, if you think the Americans are supposed to just roll out the ball and win,” Popovich said when speaking to the press after the defeat.
“I mean, we’ve got to work for it just like everybody else.
“When you lose a game, you’re not surprised, you’re disappointed.
“I don’t understand the word ‘surprised’, that sort of disses the French team, as if we’re supposed to beat them by 30.
“That’s a hell of a team.”
When asked to compare the two sides to identify where Team USA went wrong, he backed his players.
“They are better individually,” was his assessment of his own players.
“But they can be beaten as a team.”
Team USA will now have easier fixtures, up against Iran and the Czech Republic, to finish the group stage and secure progress.
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