After a rocky start, Team USA is looking to get back on track in Tokyo. Though they’ve only played two games so far, each one has had a different look. After a frustrating loss to France, they were able to bounce back against Iran. Shot Clock Summaries is here to give you some key takeaways from the games and what to look out for before their match on Saturday morning.
Game 1: July 25 vs FRANCE (L) 83-76
The biggest problem for Team USA in their loss against France was execution on offence. The third quarter in particular was dreadful, the team only put up 11 points in comparison to France’s 25. They had a poor shooting night, shooting only 36% from the field and missing five straight possessions in the last minute of the game.
The headlines had a field day. We get it. The fact of the matter is that Damian Lillard and Kevin Durant were not going to go a combined 7/22 again. The light in this first game, however, was Jrue Holiday. The recent NBA Champion did not skip a beat flying from Milwaukee to Tokyo and performing at a high level. He was active on defense and led in scoring, but ultimately, it wasn’t enough.
France’s defense in the paint was quite an adjustment for Team USA. FIBA rules are different in that there is no defensive three-second violation, which helped the brigade of French players stop USA in the paint.
KEY TAKEAWAY for TEAM USA: They need a playmaker, a PG who will get the scorers those buckets. No more offensive droughts, either.
Game 2: July 28 vs IRAN 120-66
The difference in this game was very apparent. There was more ball movement, communication. All the shots they missed in the first game seemed to add up in this one. I expect the next game against Czech Republic to be a lot more balanced, as we’ve gotten both sides of the spectrum here.
KEY TAKEAWAY for TEAM USA: Good communication and execution helps showcase all the talent that this team has.
Coming up next: USA vs Czech Republic on Saturday at 8 am ET
I think that we forget that there is more to basketball than a star-studded team. There is always a structure and organization to it, and that will be a good reminder as Team USA continues to put in time together on and off the court.