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Gregg Popovich Reacts To Team USA Loss to France, Lillard Reflects

Despite Pop’s reaction, Damian Lillard thinks the team can get back on track.

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Basketball - Olympics: Day 2 Photo by Bradley Kanaris/Getty Images

Head coach of Team USA Gregg Popovich spoke with the press following the men’s basketball team’s loss to France in the opening game of group play at the Tokyo Olympics. According to Joe Vardon of the Athletic, Popovich wondered how anyone could be surprised at the outcome.

“There is nothing to be surprised about,” Popovich went on. “They knocked down some 3s down the stretch and we made some mistakes. As Draymond (Green) said, we had (a seven-point lead) late in the game and we gave up 3s, so those are mistakes by players. Those things happen. But if we can be more consistent during the game, we wouldn’t have been in that position. When you lose a game, you’re not surprised. You’re disappointed.”

Portland Trail Blazers point guard Damian Lillard struggled in the loss.

“We all just, I think, just trying too hard … instead of just being who we are — the best players in the NBA,” Lillard said. “Shots just didn’t fall. We had opportunities down the stretch, just didn’t make them.”

Despite the disappointment of losing to France, Lillard thinks the team can recover.

“I think we are more than capable of doing it,” Lillard said. “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. 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.”

Team USA next plays Iran on Tuesday.