Team USA Basketball had an unexpected result to open its warmup for the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games after losing 90-87 to Nigeria on Saturday night. The Nigerians who are coached by Mike Brown, the Golden State assistant, pulled off the stunning win with a roster that includes players that aren’t well known in the NBA.
Miami Heat’s Gabe Nnamdi, who goes by Gabe Vincent when playing for the NBA franchise, led the way for Nigeria with 21 points, while Caleb Agada scored 17 points, and Ike Nwamu added 13 for the Africans who outscored the Americans 60-30 from 3-point range.
”We just wanted to compete,” said Nnamdi. “We know what USA Basketball means around the world and what they’ve stood for for so long.”
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”We kept the game simple,” Nnamdi added, “and came out on top.”
Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant, who had never before played in a loss for USA Basketball in 39 senior international games, finished with 17 points, with Jayson Tatum adding 15.
Damian Lillard ended with 14 points and Bam Adebayo collected 11 in the defeat.
Despite the win, coach Brown wasn’t getting carried away.
”At the end of the day, it doesn’t mean much in the standings as far as where we’re trying to get to,” Brown said. ”But it’s a good win for us.
“I don’t think any African team has been able to beat USA Basketball in an exhibition game or a real game. … We’re trying to get a little bit of momentum for Nigeria and for the continent of Africa.”
U.S. coach Gregg Popovich gave Nigeria credit for the impressive performance.
“I thought that the Nigerian team played very physically, did a great job in that regard and knocked down a lot of 3s,” Popovich said. “Give them credit.”
Meanwhile, because Khris Middleton, Jrue Holiday and Devin Booker are playing in the NBA Finals, Team USA added Darius Garland and Saddiq Bey to the roster.