If there was an expectation of invincibility for the Americans heading into the Tokyo Olympics, it’s already gone after Nigeria shocked them with a defeat on Saturday night.
Nigeria defeated the U.S. 90-87, pulling off a worldwide shocker with a record primarily filled with little-known NBA players that found a way to conquer a group of All-NBA, All-Star and max-contract players.
Ike Iroegbu — a former Washington State player who spent some time in the G League hit a 3-pointer with about 1:15 left to put Nigeria up 88-80. Kevin Durant then scored the next seven points for the U.S.A; a 3-pointer, two free throws following a tart, then two more from the line with 16.5 seconds remaining.
Gabe Nnamdi made two bad shots with 13.2 seconds left to redeem Nigeria’s 3-point edge. The Americans ran 9.7 seconds off the clock on the ensuing possession without getting a shot off, and Zach LaVine missed a pair of free throws — the second intentionally — with 3.5 seconds left.
Precious Achiuwa got the rebound for Nigeria, and that was it. It’s only an exhibition — but the loss was still of the massive variety. U.S. coach Gregg Popovich moved and shook hands with Nigeria coach, Mike Brown, the Golden State assistant, as the Americans walked off dazed.