USA

Damian Lillard on Team USA loss: 'People Will Make It Seem Like the End of the World'

USA

The Americans lost in men's basketball at the Olympics for the first time since 2004 Sunday morning as Team USA fell to France 83-76 to open group play, snapping a 25-game Olympic winning streak.

Team USA had a seven-point lead with 3:41 left but allowed France to score 14 unanswered points to win. 

“We let one get away,” Trail Blazers and Team USA starting point guard  Damian Lillard admitted. “There’s a lot of things we could have done better, including making shots.”

Dame missed all of his second-half field goal attempts. 

Later, Lillard said his team "can [still] accomplish what we came here to accomplish," per ESPN's Brian Windhorst.

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"I think we have a history of dominance and maybe not always blowing people out, but we have a history of winning. And it's not often that you see Team USA go out there and lose, especially to start," said Lillard.

"I think that's why a lot of people will make it seem like the end of the world, but our job as professionals and this team and representing our country at the Olympics, we've got to do what's necessary and we still can accomplish what we came here to accomplish, and we’ve got to make sure we keep that in mind.”

 

Dame finished the game shooting 30% from the field on 10 attempts, finishing with just 11 points. Jrue Holiday led Team USA in scoring with 18 points despite arriving in Tokyo less than 24 hours before tipoff. 

Walking off the court, the first American starting point guard to lose an Olympics game since 2004, Lillard thought the team may have spent too much time overthinking, rather than playing.

"We were just trying too hard to do the right thing. Instead of just being who we are—the best players in the NBA," he said.

The Athletic's Joe Vardon reported "players are frustrated... grumbling on their way back to the locker room about 'running the San Antonio offense' when apparently they feel like there are better ideas."

Team USA can right the ship beginning Tuesday against Iran. 

“The next one is the most important one,” Lillard added. “We lost this one tonight. We’ve got to get the next one.”