LAS VEGAS (AP) — Here’s no longer how USA Basketball anticipated to birth its Olympic summer season.
Nigeria doubtlessly didn’t ask it, both.
If there changed into as soon as any expectation of invincibility for the Individuals heading into the Tokyo Olympics, it’s already long gone — after Nigeria beat the U.S. 90-87 on Saturday evening, an international shocker pulled off by a roster essentially stuffed by small-identified NBA gamers that learned a approach to beat a neighborhood of All-NBA, All-Extensive title and max-contract performers.
“We upright obligatory to compete,” said Nigeria’s Gabe Nnamdi, who goes by Gabe Vincent when playing for the Miami Warmth. “Everybody is conscious of what USA Basketball capacity during the arena and what they’ve stood for for therefore long.”
The U.S. had lost 11 video games sooner than Saturday in main international play — Olympics and World Cups, mostly — since NBA gamers began filling the American rosters with the first Dream Crew in 1992. None of those losses came against a crew from Africa.
“I understanding that the Nigerian crew played very bodily, did a colossal job in that regard and knocked down a kind of 3s,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “Give them credit.”
Nnamdi led Nigeria with 21 points. Caleb Agada scored 17 points, Ike Nwamu added 13 and Nigeria outscored the U.S. 60-30 from 3-point differ.
Kevin Durant, who had never sooner than played in a loss for USA Basketball in 39 senior international video games, had 17 points. Jayson Tatum added 15, Damian Lillard had 14 and Bam Adebayo 11.
“True goes to point to that we’ve to play greater,” Tatum said.
The Individuals had long gone 39-0 in their closing three Olympic seasons — including pre-Olympic exhibitions — on their approach to gold medals and had been 54-2 in main exhibitions since NBA gamers began playing for USA Basketball in 1992. Plus, they’d overwhelmed Nigeria by a combined 127 points in their closing two meetings, one at the 2012 London Games, the replace a heat-up for the 2016 Rio Games.
Nigeria lost to the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics by 83 points. Lost to the Individuals again four years later in an exhibition, that point by 44 points.
No longer this time.
“Nigeria’s attain an extended approach with their basketball,” USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said.
Ike Iroegbu — a customary Washington Reveal player who some time in the G League — hit a 3-pointer with about 1: 15 left to set Nigeria up 88-80. Durant scored the following seven points for the U.S.; a 3-pointer, two free throws following a turnover, then two more from the line with 16.5 seconds remaining.
Nnamdi made two wretched shots with 13.2 seconds left to restore Nigeria’s 3-point edge. The Individuals ran 9.7 seconds off the clock on the ensuing possession with out getting a shot off, and Zach LaVine ignored a pair of free throws — the 2d intentionally — with 3.5 seconds left.
Treasured Achiuwa bought the rebound for Nigeria, and that changed into as soon as it. It’s easiest an exhibition — nonetheless the upset changed into as soon as unexcited of the enormous differ, the 22nd-ranked nation by FIBA beating the No. 1-ranked crew and three-time reigning Olympic gold medalists.
Popovich heard the final buzzer and shook fingers with Nigeria coach Mike Brown, the Golden Reveal assistant, as the Individuals walked off afraid.
“At the top of the day, it doesn’t mean great in the standings as far as the put we’re trying to accept to,” Brown said. “Nonetheless it certainly’s a staunch win for us. I don’t think any African crew has been in a situation to beat USA Basketball in an exhibition recreation or a staunch recreation. … We’re trying to accept a little bit of of little bit of momentum for Nigeria and for the continent of Africa.”
The U.S. led 43-41 at the half, then pushed the lead out to 52-43 early in the third. Nonetheless the Nigerians related on 3s on their next three possessions — Vincent, Achiuwa and Nwamu all related — and upright like that, the recreation changed into as soon as tied.
Achiuwa took one 3-pointer all season with the Warmth. It ignored. Nonetheless he related in this one, as did Miye Oni — who made two 3s in the fourth quarter, including the one which set Nigeria up for true with 6: 08 left. Oni averaged all of 1.9 points per recreation this season for Utah, and made two stout shots dreary Saturday to wait on seal the U.S. fate.
“We kept the recreation straightforward,” Nnamdi said, “and came out on top.”
Nigeria: Achiuwa had in all probability the evening’s top defensive play with 1: 23 left in the first half, reaching together with his left hand to block a Durant dunk try. … Nigeria outrebounded the U.S. 46-34.
USA: Darius Garland and Saddiq Bey had been Desire Crew gamers who bought into the recreation. The Olympic crew obligatory further gamers because Khris Middleton, Jrue Vacation and Devin Booker are at the NBA Finals. … The U.S. bought 32 free-throw makes an try to Nigeria’s 10.
FREE THROW DEFENSE
Nigeria’s Chimezie Metu had an even play in the third quarter — committing what would possibly per chance be goaltending in the NBA. Durant changed into as soon as taking a free throw, and as his shot bounced on the rim Metu reached up and knocked the shot away. That’s a correct play below FIBA rules.
LaVine bought damage in the 2d quarter on a play the put he changed into as soon as closing out against Nnamdi. He went airborne after a head wrong and came down awkwardly, grabbing at his left ankle sooner than getting up and going without extend to the U.S. locker room. LaVine changed into as soon as fine and returned in the third quarter.
Nigeria: Face Argentina on Monday in Las Vegas.
USA: Face Australia on Monday in Las Vegas.
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