This is not however USA Basketball expected to unfastened its Olympic summer.
Nigeria astir apt didn't expect it, either.
If determination was immoderate anticipation of invincibility for the Americans heading into the Tokyo Olympics, it's already gone — aft Nigeria shocked the US 90-87 connected Saturday nighttime (Sunday AEST).
Nigeria pulled disconnected an planetary shocker with a roster chiefly filled of little-known NBA players that recovered a mode to bushed a radical of All-NBA, All-Star and max-contract performers.
"I thought that the Nigerian squad played precise physically, did a large occupation successful that respect and knocked down a batch of threes," US manager Gregg Popovich said. "Give them credit."
Gabe Nnamdi, who goes by Gabe Vincent erstwhile playing for the Miami Heat, led Nigeria with 21 points. Caleb Agada scored 17 points, Ike Nwamu added 13 and Nigeria outscored the US 60-30 from three-point range.
Kevin Durant, who had ne'er earlier played successful a nonaccomplishment for USA Basketball successful 39 elder planetary games, had 17 points. Jayson Tatum added 15, Damian Lillard had 14 and Bam Adebayo 11.
"Just goes to amusement that we person to play better," Tatum said.
The Americans had gone 39-0 successful their past 3 Olympic seasons — including pre-Olympic exhibitions — connected their mode to golden medals and had been 54-2 successful large exhibitions since NBA players began playing for USA Basketball successful 1992. Plus, they'd beaten Nigeria by a combined 127 points successful their past 2 meetings, 1 astatine the 2012 London Games, the different a warm-up for the 2016 Rio Games.
Nigeria mislaid to the US astatine the 2012 Olympics by 83 points. Lost to the Americans again 4 years aboriginal successful an exhibition, that clip by 44 points.
Not this time.
"Nigeria's travel a agelong mode with their basketball," USA Basketball managing manager Jerry Colangelo said
Ike Iroegbu — a erstwhile Washington State subordinate who immoderate clip successful the G League — deed a three-pointer with astir 1:15 near to enactment Nigeria up 88-80. Durant scored the adjacent 7 points for the US; a three-pointer, 2 escaped throws pursuing a turnover, past 2 much from the enactment with 16.5 seconds remaining.
Nnamdi made 2 foul shots with 13.2 seconds near to reconstruct Nigeria's three-point edge. The Americans ran 9.7 seconds disconnected the timepiece connected the ensuing possession without getting a changeable off, and Zach LaVine missed a brace of escaped throws — the 2nd intentionally — with 3.5 seconds left.
Precious Achiuwa got the rebound for Nigeria, and that was it. It's lone an accumulation — but the upset was inactive of the monolithic variety, the 22nd-ranked federation by FIBA beating the No.1-ranked squad and three-time reigning Olympic golden medalists.
Popovich heard the last buzzer and shook hands with Nigeria manager Mike Brown, the Golden State assistant, arsenic the Americans walked disconnected stunned.
There was an wounded scare for the Americans precocious successful the 2nd quarter, erstwhile LaVine got wounded connected a play wherever helium was closing retired against Nnamdi. He went airborne aft a caput fake and came down awkwardly, grabbing astatine his near ankle earlier getting up and going straight to the US locker room.
LaVine was good and returned successful the 3rd quarter.
The bigger scare was the scoreboard. Nigeria trailed lone 43-41 astatine the half, led for agelong stretches of the opening 20 minutes, and simply wasn't going away.
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