United States men’s basketball star Damian Lillard had a telling admission following the Americans loss in the Summer Olympics on Sunday.
France upset Team USA, 83-76, in the opening game of the group stage on Sunday. This was the United States’ first loss in the Olympics since 2004, when the team failed to win the gold medal.
Lillard spoke highly of France’s NBA players following Sunday’s loss. The French were led by Evan Fournier, who led all scorers with 28 points. Fournier is a solid NBA player, but he’s far from a star.
“They are completely different when they play for their countries,” Lillard said of international NBA players.
Damian Lillard on international NBA players after Team USA's loss today: "…They are completely different when they play for their countries." pic.twitter.com/c8Y8UoAMw9
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) July 25, 2021
USA head coach Gregg Popovich spoke highly of France, as well.
“When you lose a game, you’re not surprised. You’re disappointed. I don’t understand the word ‘surprised.’ That sort of disses the French team, as if we’re supposed to beat them by 30. That’s a hell of a team,” he said.
Team USA will return to the floor on July 28 against Iran. That game is scheduled to tip off at 12:40 p.m. E.T.
Lillard and Co. remain strong contenders for a medal, but they’ll clearly need to play better moving forward.