KEY POINTS

  • Head coach Gregg Popovich had a heated exchange with a journalist
  • Popovich says Team USA needs to learn from their losses to Nigeria and Australia
  • Team USA expects a tough road to winning the gold at the Tokyo Olympics

The United States lost again to another team--this time to Australia.

It was a rare occurrence to see Team USA drop back-to-back games, so the frustrations are likely to set in.

It appears that was evident with Team USA coach Gregg Popovich took exception to questions about the game following his team exhibition game loss to Australia, 91-83.

A heated exchange between the San Antonio Spurs coach and Joe Vardon of The Athletic ensued.

As far as Popovich is concerned, blowouts are less frequent at the highest level of international competition.

Vardon was pointing out the lofty average margin of victory when Team USA makes use of NBA players.

It was unclear what ticked Popovich off. It seemed Vardon was citing average winning margins in the past, where the United States blew out the competition by wide margins.

Testament to this is the 1992 USA Dream Team which won by nearly an average of 44 points during the Summer Games.

But the years that followed saw immense improvement from other countries--ironically because the NBA played a part in growing the game internationally.

Regardless, the US has found a way to stand on its own. But the main concern of most right now is that the Americans dropped back-to-back games even with the presence of tops stars like Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard and Draymond Green.

The exchange between Popovich was intense, and it may have been a case of the 72-year-old NBA champion coach being in a foul mood.

With time to spare, all Team USA can do right now is learn from its mistakes, which Popovich pointed out when they bowed to Nigeria before the loss to Australia.

“That means nothing if we don’t learn from it. It could be the most important thing in this tournament for us. ... Everybody expects us to win every game. That puts some pressure on you. For a new group, in tough circumstances, I thought they did a good job of not getting down, not blaming anybody, and just playing. That will go a long way,” Popovich stated via the Washington Post.

With rare back-to-back losses, it could be a wake-up call for Team USA.

Head coach Gregg Popovich of the United States Team USA head coach Gregg Popovich was not too thrilled during a post-game press conference after the US lost to Australia. Photo: Getty Images | Ethan Miller