Team USA Dominates Iran After Critical Adjustments
Following a loss to France on Sunday, the U.S. Men’s basketball team found its form Wednesday afternoon during a 120-66 rout against Iran.
It was the first win of the Olympics for the men’s basketball team. The victory was only possible after head coach Gregg Popovich made some serious adjustments to the game plan and rotation following Sunday’s loss to France. First and foremost, Popovich changed the starting lineup. He inserted Jrue Holiday and Devin Booker. Both players came off the bench against France after traveling to Japan late following the NBA Finals.
The improved lineup brought balance to the team and paid off as the team produced 19 fast-break points in the first half alone. In addition, Damian Lillard, who surprisingly struggled with his shot against France, exploded for 21 points, all of which came from seven three-pointers. Team USA improved their three-point shooting drastically after only converting 10-of-32 shots from beyond the arc against France. Against Iran, they shot 48.7 percent from the three-point line. Booker scored 16 points and grabbed five rebounds, Jayson Tatum had 14 points and Zach LaVine tallied 13 points. It was a well-rounded effort.
“Being in the hotel, at meals, and on the practice court and just talking after that loss, we came together,” Lillard said. “It’s time to start looking like Team USA.”
“Each of these guys scores 20 or 25 points for their teams; we can’t play like that, and so we don’t,” Popovich said of the team. “Everybody in a sense is a role player now; we don’t need heroes.”
The United States will face the Czech Republic on Saturday. A win over the Czechs will clinch a berth into the medal round next week.