Team USA faced a serious scare last Friday, but following an end of regulation missed three-point shot by Serbia guard Bogdan Bogdanovic, the men’s Olympic basketball team was able to dodge a big-time upset. This was the second straight game the USA team has faced stiff competition after a cake walk in the previous games.
And judging by the way Australia and Serbia has played the United States the last two games, don’t expect an easy road to the gold like so many basketball aficionados predicted. In fact, the international players are more than ready for the challenge and seem very confident. Which brings us to promising young NBA prospect, Nikola Jokic.
The Denver Nuggets big man had a brilliant game against Team USA, scoring 25 points and grabbing six boards. But it was what he said after the game that showed these international players aren’t afraid of the talent Team USA possesses.
via Yahoo Sports:
“They are just players,” said Serbian center Nikola Jokic, the promising Denver Nugget who bludgeoned the U.S. for a game-high 25 points in a 94-91 loss. “If you think about who they are, you are not going to be good at this. Maybe Australia showed us they can get beat. They can get beat.”
USA center DeMarcus Cousins may have alluded to the USA players not giving it 100 percent every time they are on the court and that may be the reason for these close games of late.
“We got to expect this,” said DeMarcus Cousins. “Every time we step on the floor, guys are going to give us their best effort, everybody wants to beat Team USA. We know that coming in, but at the same time, we can’t crumble the way we’ve done the past two games. Right now, we’re hurting ourselves. Not taking away credit of how Serbia played, because they played amazing tonight. But we’ve got to be a lot stronger mentally.”
Leave it to Boogie to let the team know they need to be stronger mentally.
I’m sure Team USA will get it together as they have way too much talent to screw this up. But it’s important to know that the moment they become too lax, an upset could occur by one of these veteran Olympic teams.