The United States basketball team, three-time current Olympic champion and with names full of NBA talent, suffered on Saturday night a surprise defeat in Las Vegas against his counterpart from Nigeria, who beat him 90-87, in a friendly preparation for the Tokyo Olympics, which will begin on Friday 23 of this year.
The African team enjoyed enormous potential from beyond the 6.75 meter zone, to the point of having made 20 triples, in the match played at the Michelob Ultra Arena at Mandalay Bay in the so-called “Sin City” .
The self-styled Green Tigers, led by Mike Brown (former DT of Cleveland Cavaliers, Los Angeles Lakers and Indiana Pacers, among other NBA franchises), had a superlative work by Gabe Vincent (Miami Heat), responsible for 21 points (6-8 in triples).
There were also outstanding works by Caleb Agada (Hapoel Beer Sheva, Israel), with 17 goals, and Ikechukwu Nwamu (BC Samara, Russia), with 13, respectively.
In the North American quintet, who lost for the first time a preparation duel since 1992Forward Kevin Durant (Brooklyn Nets) had 17 points, while Jayson Tatum (Boston Celtics) contributed 15.
“We thought Nigeria was going to play us very physical. But they did a great job and had their reward in the three-point shots. Let’s give them credit because they played very well,” said the coach of the US team Gregg Popovich (San Antonio Spurs). according to The Guardian.
The American team left a 39-game unbeaten streak in the last three Olympic cycles (Beijing 2008, London 2012 and Rio de Janeiro 2016), in which they achieved the respective gold medals at stake (defeats in the last World Cup not included).
The United States, which will be Argentina’s rival in another preparation test this Tuesday the 13th, also in Las Vegas, will integrate zone A of the Olympic event in Tokyo, facing as rivals France (Sunday 25), Iran (Wednesday 28) and Czech Republic (Saturday 31).
For its part, Nigeria will compete in group B and will face Australia (Sunday 25), Germany (Wednesday 28) and Italy (Saturday 31). All matches will take place at the Saitama Super Arena.