Nigeria’s basketball team, the Super Eagles, beat Team USA in a game on their home court. The victory was attributed to the Nigerian team’s superior teamwork and spirit.
The team usa vs nigeria score basketball is a story about how Nigeria beat the fabled Team USA in a game of basketball.
Kevin Durant of Team USA was sent flying into the protective padding surrounding the floor after being hit by a powerful block by Nigeria’s Precious Achiuwa. Getty Images/Ethan Miller
Nigeria became the first African nation to defeat the United States when they defeated the top-ranked team 90-87 in a pre-Olympics exhibition game in Las Vegas on Saturday, and D’Tigers coach Mike Brown told ESPN that the victory was no fluke.
It was Team USA’s third defeat in 57 exhibition games since 1992, and the last time they lost was against Australia in 2019. The United States’ last two encounters with Nigeria resulted in 83-point and 43-point blowout victories for Team USA.
Brown, who is also an assistant coach for the NBA’s Golden State Warriors, told ESPN that his squad was confident in their ability to win the match, and that they would expect to do so against Italy, Germany, and Australia in Tokyo in less than three weeks.
“The most important thing is that we expect to win every time we walk on that court,” Brown added.
“So, if we really believe that, when we win a huge game like that, even if it’s only an exhibition, we’ll take it in stride because we know we might lose the next one — touch wood.”
“Winning a game [against the US] might influence or effect a lot of people,” he says. But I don’t believe it will have an impact on this group.
“But when the lights go on during the Olympics, we’ll be ready. That’s true.”
Kevin Durant’s Precious Achiuwa block (pic.twitter.com/5WVx9cVSgz) is incredible.
July 11, 2021 — Billy Heyen (@BillyHeyen)
Nigeria had excellent performances all over the court, draining 20 three-pointers on an incredible 47 percent shooting from beyond the arc.
Precious Achiuwa of the Miami Heat’s authoritative rejection of Kevin Durant’s attempted block was typical of Nigeria’s defensive efforts, which included shepherding Team USA out of shooting range as they tried a possible game-tying three-point play with 13 seconds remaining on the clock.
This was also the first time this reorganized squad under Brown has played together. The day before the game, a scrimmage was canceled, leaving them with nothing but practice time to prepare for the battle.
So, how did they come out on top?
There was no Fear Factor in the room.
Most teams that take the court against Team USA do so with some apprehension, if not awe, knowing they are up against a top-tier group of athletes.
This Nigerian squad is not one of them. Everything about them, from how they arrived to how they competed to their aggressiveness and shooting, demonstrated that they were not frightened by Team USA.
Despite the presence of Kevin Durant, Dame Lillard, Jayson Tatum, Bam Adebayo, Draymond Green, Kevin Love, and Bradley Beal, the team competed hard despite the ‘exhibition’ moniker.
This mindset will be critical for D’Tigers at the Games and in the future. They lost games they should have won in the World Cup, with many blaming too much respect for the opponent.
Playing with such a bold mentality against the greatest team in the world and coming out on top should boost their confidence moving ahead.
Precious Achiuwa of Nigeria demonstrated his NBA expertise against the United States by refusing to give up the ball to his famous opponents as much as he could. Getty Images/Ethan Miller
That block against Kevin Durant’s attempted dunk was the night’s highlight, and it’s on its way to becoming one of Nigerian basketball’s most famous pictures.
“He is very essential to our program,” Brown says of the Miami Heat’s rookie. He has no limitations in terms of how excellent he can be.
“As a young man, you notice the skill, the drive, the intellect, the physical and mental tenacity, the athleticism, the length, and the quickness. Even as a young man, you can see all of those characteristics, and when he puts them all together, he’s a dynamite on the floor.
“It’s just a question of him figuring out how to use all of those skills every single second he’s on the court.” He’s still learning, which is why I don’t think he’ll ever hit his ceiling.
“And once he gets it out, it’s a wrap for whomever is in front of him on the floor because he is that dynamic.”
If Achiuwa wasn’t well-known, Caleb Agada, who went undrafted in 2016 and currently plays basketball for Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Israeli Premier League, was virtually unknown.
The 6’5″ guard was born in Ontario, Canada, and attended the University of Ottawa in college. He turned a lot of heads on Saturday when he scored 17 points, the same as KD, and hit 3-of-3 from beyond the arc.
The Old Guard was much missed.
When Brown announced his 16-man roster, the omission of two of the team’s most experienced leaders, captain Ike Diogu and his assistant Ben Uzoh, caused considerable consternation among Nigerian basketball fans.
The main concern was how this group would function without two of its most significant leaders. Granted, their output isn’t at the same level as it once was, but there aren’t many better glue men to keep a team together.
That question was clearly answered. The squad was led and guided by Ekpe Udoh, Gabe Vincent, Michael Gbinijie, and Stan Okoye.
There’s not much more to say when that leadership helps Team USA defeat Team USA. Diogu and Uzoh are indisputable, and their contributions to Nigerian basketball are unrivaled. However, this team’s performance shown that they will continue the tradition.
On Saturday, Patty Mills and Australia defeated Argentina in an exhibition game. Getty Images/Stephen Gosling/NBAE
Don’t succumb to arrogance.
Nigeria’s next games are against Argentina on Monday and Australia, who are in the same Tokyo group as Nigeria.
Brown believes that although Nigeria will go into the games with confidence, the focus will be on avoiding losing: “We’re a confident bunch, but hopefully not too confident.”
“That is why exhibition games are so valuable because they allow us to get a true feel of where we are.” However, we are a confident bunch that understands that anything may happen at any moment.
“We know that if we perform our tasks every time we walk on the court, we will give ourselves a very strong chance of defeating whomever is in front of us.”
“This is something I teach our men. If we really play to our potential every time we walk on the court, if we lose a game, I believe it is because we have defeated ourselves.”
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