Damian Lillard, Gregg Popovich discuss Team USA’s biggest issue after second straight exhibition loss

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Crew USA basketball’s 90-87 exhibition loss to Nigeria was beautiful. The crew’s second consecutive exhibition loss to Australia on Monday was maybe a bit extra regarding.

With considerably of a panic surrounding Crew USA, Portland Path Blazers star Damian Lillard and head coach Gregg Popovich mentioned the crew’s greatest problem after Monday’s 91-83 loss. 

“We’re nonetheless working at changing into a crew, getting our legs below us and getting in form,” Lillard mentioned, based on The Athletic’s Joe Vardon.

Popovich added: “Within the second half, we drained out. And when that occurs, you get hit mentally a bit of bit, too. We did not maintain the boards the identical method, the protection wasn’t the identical, our tempo wasn’t the identical, so we received some guys that should get their legs and rhythm again, however typically, we want extra conditioning, which is completely comprehensible.”

The NBA gamers are coming off a condensed season as a consequence of COVID-19, so it isn’t essentially shocking that they are drained and must undergo extra conditioning. 

Nonetheless, Crew USA’s issues cannot be blamed solely on poor conditioning. In spite of everything, Australia has a number of NBA gamers on its roster, too. In his postgame feedback, Lillard mentioned that he and his teammates are “working at changing into a crew,” and there is clearly little or no chemistry. 

It must also be famous that the crew nonetheless is with out Devin Booker, Khris Middleton and Jrue Vacation, who’re nonetheless competing within the NBA Finals. The trio ought to assist flip issues round, although they may very well be fairly drained heading into the Olympics after a grueling battle within the NBA playoffs. 



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