As the United States kicked off their Olympic experience this summer, they faced Nigeria in an exhibition game on Saturday night. While Team USA rolled out five NBA superstars in their starting lineup with an impressive bench as well, they fell 90-87 in a shocking loss.
While this was a game the United States was supposed to win, head coach Gregg Popovich thinks this loss might end up being beneficial.
“In a way I’m kind of glad it happened,” said Popovich after the game. “It means nothing if we don’t learn from it. It could be the most important thing in this tournament for us. To learn lessons from this.”
Coming into Saturday’s matchup, Team USA was 54-2 in exhibition games. They’ll now fall to 54-3, which is still an extremely dominant record.
For the United States, it will be about finding their identity as they’re still learning to play together efficiently, regardless of talent level.
“None of us have ever played with each other, we’re just trying to figure it out,” said Jayson Tatum after the loss. “We don’t have three to four weeks. This is good for us, we’ll learn a lot from the film and we’ll regroup.”
The United States will take on Australia in their next exhibition game on Monday Evening.