Boston Celtics star guard Evan Fournier felt proud after leading France past the United States in his nation's opener at the Tokyo Olympics. Fournier delivered a great performance against the United States as he dropped a game-high 28 points in a 83-76 win.
"I got to lead the team because I know these guys," Fournier said, per ESPN. "It's a hell of a win. Our country is going to be extremely proud. But it's just one game, to be honest." After the loss, Team USA coach Gregg Popovich didn't want to say that his side got stunned by France.
Popovich insisted France were a great team and losing to them wasn't a surprise. "There's nothing to be surprised about," Team USA coach Popovich said before launching into what has become his go-to statement after losses.
"When you lose a game, you're not surprised. You're disappointed, but I don't understand the word 'surprised.' That sort of disses the French team, so to speak, as if we're supposed to beat them by 30 or something.
That's a hell of a team."
Fournier led France past the United States
Damian Lillard, who shot just 3-of-10 and finished the game of 11 points, underlined that it's up to the players on Team USA to respond and deliver in the rest of the Olympics.
"I think we have a history of dominance and maybe not always blowing people out, but we have a history of winning. And it's not often that you see Team USA go out there and lose, especially to start," said Lillard.
"I think that's why a lot of people will make it seem like the end of the world, but our job as professionals and this team and representing our country at the Olympics, we've got to do what's necessary and we still can accomplish what we came here to accomplish."
Popovich added: "Every team has to do what fits with their personnel. And with our team having our two big guys, Draymond [Green] and Bam Adebayo, out there gives us a lot of pace, makes us move well, and works best for the combination of people we have."
Lillard also added that he and his teammates "were just trying hard to do the right thing." "We were just trying too hard to do the right thing," Lillard said. "Instead of just being who we are -- the best players in the NBA."