Nigeria’s D’Tigers shock U.S. Dream Team in Olympic friendly.


Nigeria’s basketball team, D’Tigers shocked the United States 90-87 in a pre-Olympic basketball friendly in Las Vegas, Nevada, on Sunday morning.

Nigeria, with six NBA players and former NBA head coach Mike Brown at the helm, became the first African nation to beat the USA, who were playing the first of a five of tune-up games before the Tokyo Olympics.

The United States were without three players still active in the NBA Finals.

Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant led the Americans with 17 points. Jayson Tatum added 15, Damian Lillard had 14 and Bam Adebayo, with Nigerian root, had 11.

Nigeria, which had 12 NBA players in its 49-man training camp in California and seven in uniform on Sunday, was led by Gabe Vincent with 21 points.

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Caleb Agada scored 17 points, Ike Nwamu added 13 and Nigeria outscored the U.S. 60-30 from 3-point range.

“I’m kind of glad it happened,” USA head coach Gregg Popovich said, noting that the Nigerians have had the luxury of training together since late June while the US side had assembled just four days earlier.

Popovich said the defeat should be seen as a learning experience and not “the end of the world.”

Nigeria’s win came nine years after the United States crushed the Nigerians 156-73 at the London Olympics.

The United States, who have won three Olympic men’s basketball titles since settling for bronze in 2004, are looking to regain global dominance after finishing in seventh at the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

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They play Australia, ranked third in the world, in a friendly on Monday.

Significance of Nigeria’s win :

The U.S. had lost 11 games before Saturday in major international play — Olympics and World Cups mostly — since NBA players began filling the American rosters with the first Dream Team in 1992.

None of those losses came against a team from Africa.

“I thought that the Nigerian team played very physically, did a great job in that regard and knocked down a lot of 3s,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich said. “Give them credit.”

“Just goes to show that we have to play better,” Tatum said.

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A lot better.

The Americans had gone 39-0 in their last three Olympic seasons — including pre-Olympic exhibitions — on their way to gold medals and had been 54-2 in major exhibitions since NBA players began playing for USA Basketball in 1992.

Plus, they’d beaten Nigeria by a combined 127 points in their last two meetings, one at the 2012 London Games, the other a warm-up for the 2016 Rio Games.

Nigeria lost to the U.S. at the 2012 Olympics by 83 points and lost to the Americans again four years later in an exhibition by 44 points.

Not this time.

“Nigeria’s come a long way with their basketball,” USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo said.

Source: Pmnewsnigeria

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