Miami Heat star Bam Adebayo was one of Team USA’s few bright spots today in a stunning 83-76 loss to France to start Group A play in the Olympics 2020 mens basketball tournament. It was USA’s first loss in Olympic play since 2004, snapping a 25-game win streak.
France wore down USA’s big men with a formidable 7-foot trio of Rudy Gobert, Vincent Poirier, and Moustapha Fall — notably to open the second half with Gobert and Poirier that disrupted USA’s offense and got easy baskets inside against Adebayo, Kevin Durant and Draymond Green.
Bam played well to start the game, with six of Team USA’s first 13 points along with three quick rebounds. USA seemingly had total control of the game thanks to a huge 16-4 run to close out the first half and Adebayo’s talents were on full display to the world.
In one sequence midway through the second quarter, Gobert got the best of Bam on a nifty spin move below the basket but then Bam responded by scoring on a floater in the paint and then assisted on a Damian Lillard three-pointer on their next possession.
Team USA led 45-37 at halftime but France quickly cut the deficit to four points within minutes and eventually tying the game at 52-52 with a 12-3 run. But it was a disastrous fourth quarter in which superstars like Durant inexplicably went cold from the field and they were unable to hold onto an eight point lead with four minutes left. Evan Fournier led France in clutch time finishing with 28 points, with only Jrue Holiday coming through down the stretch for USA scoring 12 of his 18 points in the final quarter.
Adebayo finished with 12 points on 5-8 shooting and 10 rebounds, with a pair of assists and steals along with a block. However, he missed a pair of crucial free throws with less than two minutes left that would have increased a slim lead to four points, and then was called for a defensive foul against Gobert.
Elsewhere in Olympic play, Nigeria fell to Australia 84-67 to open Group B play. The Heat’s trio of Gabe Vincent, Precious Achiuwa, and KZ Okpala all started for Nigeria. Okpala scored four points on 2-5 shooting with three rebounds, one assist and four fouls. Achiuwa had 10 points on 4-9 shooting along with six rebounds (two offensive). He had five turnovers and three fouls but also contributed two assists, three steals and one block. Vincent scored seven points, only going 1-6 from deep and 4-8 from the free throw line but grabbed five rebounds and notched an assist and a steal.