Gregg Popovich on Staff USA's beautiful loss to Nigeria: 'I'm type of glad it occurred'

USA basketball’s pre-Olympics tune-up shouldn’t be off to a great begin.

Staff USA misplaced to Nigeria on Saturday night time within the first of its 5 exhibition video games. The Mike Brown-coached squad earned the 90-87 victory by dropping a barrage of 3-pointers — 20, to be precise — on its supposedly superior opponent, which was favored by 29.5 factors.

Staff USA coach Gregg Popovich thinks the defeat might be a great factor, nonetheless.

“In a manner, I am type of glad it occurred,” he mentioned, per NBC Sports activities Washington’s Chase Hughes. “It might be an important factor on this match for us.”

MORE: Twitter reacts to Treasured Achiuwa’s block on Kevin Durant

Maybe the loss — and enjoying a sport that was tight down the stretch — shall be good for Staff USA, however that does not make it any much less stunning. In its earlier two video games in opposition to Nigeria, Staff USA had gained by 44 and 83 factors. It set a scoring document with 156 within the 83-point victory on the 2012 London Olympics.

In fact, this iteration of the Nigerian group is stronger than the nation’s squads from years previous. It options eight NBA gamers: Treasured Achiuwa (Warmth), Chimezie Metu (Kings), Jordan Nwora (Bucks), Jahlil Okafor (Pistons), Josh Okogie (Timberwolves), KZ Okpala (Warmth), Miye Oni (Jazz) and Gabe Vincent (Warmth). Two others, Michael Gbinije and Ekpe Udoh, even have NBA expertise.

Nonetheless, Twitter customers roasted Staff USA for its efficiency within the beautiful defeat. Specifically, customers took purpose at Kevin Durant.

Staff USA will look to reply its critics and bounce again in opposition to Australia on Monday (8 p.m. ET) in its second pre-Olympics exhibition.

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