Well, that was exciting.
Led by Evan Fournier, France defeated Team USA to open group play at the Tokyo Olympics.
Team USA was in control in the first half, leading 45-37 going into the break, but a big third quarter from France changed the course of the game, setting up a wild finish.
For more on the game, some thoughts...
1. Leading the way
In a game that had no shortage of NBA talent, it was Fournier who led the way in scoring with a game-high 28 points on 11-for-22 shooting from the field. He was the only player on France who had it going in the first half and he made some timely buckets in the second half.
The only other players on France in double figures scoring were Rudy Gobert (14) and Nando de Colo (13).
2. Where the game turned
As already mentioned, Team USA led 45-37 going into the half.
At the time, France was struggling with turnovers and couldn't make a 3-pointer, going 1-for-10 from the perimeter as a team. That changed in the second half. Not only did France do a much better job of taking care of the ball, they went 7-for-16 from 3-point range in the final two quarters of play.
Fournier set the tone with two early 3s in the third quarter. Nando de Colo then made a couple of 3s late in the third quarter to help France take the lead.
Nicolas Batum made only one 3-pointer in the game, but it was an important one in the fourth quarter that set up France's final push.
Speaking of which...
3. Making the big plays
That 3-pointer from Batum? It came with 3:17 to go in the fourth quarter to snap a quick 5-0 run for Team USA.
From Batum's 3-pointer onwards, France outscored Team USA 13-2 to seal the deal.
Team USA still had chances down the stretch, but they weren't ever able to capitalize. A particularly brutal sequence came in the game's final minute when they missed three straight shots - one from Zach LaVine, one from Kevin Durant, one from Jrue Holiday - each of which were good looks.
To rub salt in the wound, Team USA appeared to run a play for Damian Lillard on one of their last possessions, but he slipped after receiving the ball and turned it over. Not only that, but he was whistled for an unsportsmanlike foul on Fournier, leading to two free throws and possession for France.
That was the nail in the coffin.
4. Where the game was decided
Some key stats...
- Team USA shot 15-for-37 (40.5 percent) from 2-point range, 10-for-32 (31.3 percent) from 3-point range and 16-for-21 (76.2 percent) from the free throw line
- France shot 21-for-35 (60.0 percent) from 2-point range, 8-for-27 (29.6 percent) from 3-point range and 17-for-24 (70.8 percent) from the free throw line
- France outscored Team USA in the paint (32-to-28) and on second chance opportunities (16-to-7)
- Team USA had the edge in transition scoring (15-to-4) and bench production (33-to-17)
- Team USA led for 27:46 compared to 8:28 for France
5. Jrue Holiday, making a difference
Team USA probably wouldn't have had a chance of winning this game if it weren't for Holiday.
The recently crowned NBA champion led the way in scoring with 18 points to go along with seven rebounds and four assists. Following a tough third quarter in which Team USA scored only 11 points and gave up the lead, Holiday set the tone by scoring 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter. He took over the game.
Holiday also came up with some key rebounds and assists, but it wasn't quite enough.
6. Picking up fouls
It was a tough game overall for Durant.
The 11-time All-Star was Team USA's fourth-leading scorer, finishing with 10 points on 4-for-12 shooting from the field. He was limited to playing only 20 minutes because of foul trouble, as he picked up his third of the game in the second quarter and his fourth early in the third. (Remember, you're only allowed five fouls in FIBA).
Team USA missed Durant in that third quarter. With him in foul trouble and Lillard getting some rest, Team USA struggled offensively.
Because of the foul trouble, Durant could never quite seem to find his rhythm down the stretch.
7. Unfamiliar territory
As many were quick to point out following the buzzer, this marks Team USA's first loss in the Olympics since 2004. They had won 25 straight games leading up to this one.
France snaps the U.S. men's 25-game winning streak in the Olympics and wins 83-76.- ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 25, 2021
It's the 1st loss for Team USA men's basketball in the Olympics since 2004 when it fell to Argentina in Athens. pic.twitter.com/78v2cxLUuC
A big-time win from France.
8. What's next?
Team USA will face Iran on Wednesday, July 28. They will close group play on Saturday, July 31 against the Czech Republic. France, meanwhile, will play the Czech Republic on Wednesday and Iran on Friday.
Big games for both teams coming up. Should be fun.
The views on this page do not necessarily reflect the views of the NBA or its clubs.