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Tokyo Olympics: USA stunned by France for first Olympic men’s basketball loss since 2004 | Olympics News

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Defeat in Group A opener in Saitama is USA men’s first in Olympics since losing to eventual champions Argentina in Athens 17 years ago; Evan Fournier of Boston Celtics stars with 28 points for France; USA face Iran in next game on Wednesday

Last Updated: 25/07/21 3:55pm

USA stars Damian Lillard (left) and Kevin Durant played in the loss to France at the Tokyo Olympics

The United States lost their first Olympic men’s basketball game since 2004 as they went down 83-76 to France in their opening group match of the Tokyo Games on Sunday night.

The Americans are three-time defending champions in the Olympics, but have arrived in Japan short of star power after a number of withdrawals, injuries and Covid-19 issues, and it showed as they made a sloppy start to the competition.

The Boston Celtics’ Evan Fournier scored 28 points for France, who dominated the third quarter of the Group A contest at the Saitama Super Arena and then survived a fourth-quarter rally to take a huge scalp.

The Americans began the fourth on a 13-1 run, leading 69-63 when Jrue Holiday made a lay-up, but it was only temporary as big three-pointers from Nicolas Batum and Fournier swung the momentum back to France.

Evan Fournier led France in scoring with 28 points

Evan Fournier led France in scoring with 28 points

Fournier put the French back in front, 76-74, with 57 seconds left and they had the better of a scrappy finish as the Americans missed all seven of their attempts from the field inside the final minute.

It was a first Olympic defeat for the United States men’s team since the semi-finals of the Athens Games, when they were beaten 89-81 by eventual champions Argentina.

Gregg Popovich’s team must look to repair some of the damage when they face Iran in their second game on Wednesday.

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