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Team USA Bounces Back With A Big Win Over Iran

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United States v Iran Men’s Basketball - Olympics: Day 5
SAITAMA, JAPAN - JULY 28: Jayson Tatum #10 of Team United States sets up a play against Mohammad Jamshidijafarabadi #13 of Team Iran during the first half of a Men’s Preliminary Round Group A game on day five of the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at Saitama Super Arena on July 28, 2021 in Saitama, Japan.
Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

As expected, the US ran all over Iran in Olympic basketball pool play, winning 120-66.

Damian Lillard finished with 21 points while Kevin Durant had a pedestrian 10. Devin Booker shot 6-9 and finished with 16. Jayson Tatum added 14 off the bench.

Gregg Popovich shuffled his starting unit, moving Jrue Holiday and Devin Booker in for a three-guard lineup with Lillard and it appears to have made a difference. Team USA moved the ball better and played more instinctively.

One thing we still don’t get is the lack of rebounding. It’s still early and the box score at ESPN doesn’t show minutes yet, but Bam Adebayo had zero rebounds.

Durant had five while Holiday and Tatum grabbed four each. That’d be a nice role for someone to claim but no one really has.

Of course it’s possible that’s by design. There could just be other emphases or priorities. At Duke, Mike Krzyzewski has never stressed rebounding as much as some ACC rivals have. Still, we’d still like to see it improve.

After the loss to France, Julius Hodge tweeted this:

“Team USA has the best collection of talent, skill, players, etc.

“Do not listen to ANYONE saying otherwise. The rest of the world is not catching up. The TEAM is not responding to THE COACH. That’s it.”

We think he’s wrong about the world catching up. We hope he’s wrong about not responding to the coach. This one should help iron out some issues, hopefully, and get the US ready for the next game against the Czech Republic on Saturday.

By the way, we were pleased to see this from CBS’s Sam Quinn, as this has been what we’ve been saying all along: “This is Team USA’s clearest path to victory in the Olympics. Generate turnovers. Score in transition. Prevent opponents from finding easy points there themselves. That is how they can leverage their athletic advantage, and they did so in this win.“