A lot of people thought that the American basketball team had come a long way since the 2016 Olympics. One of the biggest reasons for the optimism was the play of the team’s head coach, Gregg Popovich. His team had won two gold medals during the Rio games, and was expected to do well in the upcoming games in Japan.
Team USA looked like the best team in the world in beating a team in Iran that was supposed to be the best team in the world. It was not as close as the final score, but the Americans put together a complete performance in order to win by double digits. Team USA has been playing great basketball lately, but their problems against teams like Russia and Turkey can be attributed to an inability to adjust to the international game. After the game, the players were thrilled to play with any result, and the coach seemed to be as well.
It has been more than two months since the United States last played their first good basketball game at the FIBA World Cup. The U.S. had come into the tournament as the clear favorites, but they struggled early on against China and Lithuania. With their backs against the wall, the Americans finally played like the best team in the world.. Read more about how old is gregg popovich and let us know what you think.
After losing to France in the first round of the 2020 Tokyo Olympics men’s competition, USA Basketball responded strongly to their criticisms. Coach Gregg Popovich needed that reaction because it was the first time the team looked like the Team USA we’ve come to anticipate since he took over the program.
Iran led for 53 seconds in the game, and there were five early lead changes, but USA Basketball pressed forward and didn’t let up for the next 40 minutes. The 120–66 thrashing improved Team USA’s group record to 1–1 and almost guaranteed them a place in the gold round. Despite an unexpected defeat to the Czech Republic on July 31 to end the group stage, USA Basketball has a plus-47 scoring difference for the tournament because to the plus-54 scoring differential from the win against Iran.
Following their 97–77 defeat to France in the other Group A game on July 28, the Czechs are 1–1 with a minus-14 difference. On July 31, Team USA will play the Czech Republic at 8 a.m. Eastern, while Iran and France will play at 9 p.m. Eastern on July 30. Officials from USA Basketball (and Popovich) must be breathing a sigh of relief after their dominant victory against Iran.
Team USA dominated in every aspect of the competition.
The win against Iran was the kind of triumph that USA Basketball has become used to in international competition. Six players scored in double digits, the shooting was flawless, and the defense was outstanding. Iran was outclassed, and Team USA played like if they were.
After just 36.2 percent against France, USA Basketball shot 55.3 percent. After a poor 10-of-32 (31.3%) performance against the French, they were 19-of-39 (48.7%) from long range.
However, against the Iranians, Team USA reduced their turnovers in half, from 12 to just six. The US also dominated on defense, forcing 23 turnovers and limiting Iran to 37.3 percent shooting. Only one player on the Iranian roster has NBA experience. From 2008 through 2013, Hamed Haddadi, a 7-foot-2 center, appeared in 151 games with the Grizzlies and Suns. Haddadi, who is now 36 years old, scored 14 points and seven rebounds in the contest.
Team USA was led by Damian Lillard, who scored 21 points on 7-of-13 shooting from beyond the arc. Both Zach LaVine and Khris Middleton hit 2-of-4 from beyond the arc. On the glass, the smaller American team battled the larger Iranian team to a 39–39 tie. And USA Basketball didn’t stop there, scoring 60 points in either half.
Yes, Gregg Popovich’s USA Basketball team won the FIBA World Cup in a rout.
Team USA did, in fact, win a blowout during their seventh-place finish in the 2019 FIBA World Cup in China. In a 98–45 win against Japan in group play, USA Basketball never trailed. There were, however, some significant contrasts between that triumph and the one against Iran in Tokyo.
Team USA made 6-of-12 free throws, shot 48.1 percent overall, and hit 14-of-41 (34.1 percent) three-pointers. In addition, they turned the ball over 14 times. Yes, they were dominating, but they were also sloppy.
Basketball in the United States was also heavily criticized in China. They needed overtime to beat Turkey, which didn’t even qualify for the second round, much alone the elimination phase. After losing to France and Serbia in the final round, Team USA salvaged some honor with a 13-point victory against Poland.
The competition in Tokyo is strong, but several of the world’s best national programs are missing.
FIBA has USA Basketball rated first in the world.
On day 5 of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games, at Saitama Super Arena, Team USA’s Damian Lillard shoots over Iran’s Mohammadsina Vahedi during the Basketball Preliminary Round Group A Match between USA Basketball and the Islamic Republic of Iran. Images courtesy of Berengui/DeFodi via Getty Images
Despite a disappointing performance in China, USA Basketball is still ranked first in the FIBA World Rankings. Seven of the top ten countries, including each of the top five, are competing at the Tokyo Olympics (Team USA, Spain, Australia, Argentina, and Serbia).
However, Greece (No. 6), Lithuania (No. 8) and Russia (No. 9) were unable to qualify. In Split, Croatia, Russia lost both of its group-stage games, while Brazil lost in the final against Germany. Lithuania fell in Kaunas against Luka Doni and Slovenia despite having home court advantage.
Beginning with qualification for the 2019 FIBA Global Cup, FIBA altered its world rankings from a competition-based methodology to a game-based formula in 2017, and USA Basketball has remained at the top the whole time.
Team USA has a 139–6 record in Olympic competition, with three of the defeats occurring in Athens in 2004. Since 1936, men’s basketball has competed in 19 Olympic Games, with USA Basketball winning 15 gold, one silver, and two bronze medals. The only time the US missed out was when it boycotted the 1980 Moscow Olympics.
FIBA provided the statistics.
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