‘Trying to Find Our Identity’ Kevin Durant Explains Why Team USA Struggled in the First Two Exhibition Losses

Published 07/16/2021, 1:04 PM EDT
May 6, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Brooklyn Nets forward Kevin Durant (7) warms up before the game against the Dallas Mavericks at American Airlines Center. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports


Team USA have been a dominant force in the international basketball space. Given their track record in the Olympics, it is not a surprise to see the US featuring superstars Kevin Durant and Damian Lillard are being considered as favorites.

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Apart from Durant and Lillard, the team also has some of the best young players in Jayson Tatum and Bam Adebayo representing the nation. While they are the clear favorites on paper, the team has had a bumpy start ahead of the Olympics.

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Playing against two talented nations in Nigeria and Australia in exhibition games, the US were expected to win the two games fairly easily, But the Olympic champions failed to do so and these losses certainly sent shock waves all around the world.

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Kevin Durant explains why team USA lost the first two exhibition games

These two losses for the US were clearly one of the biggest shocks for the basketball world. While they do have the quality, they looked a bit estranged at times on the floor and lacked the intensity on the floor.

Superstar Kevin Durant who is one of the veterans in the side, recently sat for an interview with Yahoo Sports. There the 2-time Finals MVP explained why the team struggled in the first two exhibition games.

“We’re a team that’s still coming together and trying to find our identity……. We have so many great players that you can play so many different ways, and we are indecisive at times on defense and offense. In the midst of us figuring it out, these teams are established…… The stars were kind of aligned for us to lose early on.”

The Brooklyn Nets forward also explained why the quality of the competing teams should not be underestimated. “We do have all the best players in the league, but these national teams have NBA players, too, who are now No. 1 options and they’re used to playing that role internationally.”

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Durant added, “We’re still adjusting as a team, and that’s not making excuses. There’s a lot of context people need to understand. We didn’t expect to lose a game, but losing games happen. We’ll get it right.”

The USA team is amidst some major crisis right now. While they looked solid in their last exhibition game, they have been caught by the health and safety protocols. With superstar Bradley Beal out, the US needs to figure out its best rotation. Will this US team be able to defend the throne or are we seeing a repeat of the 2004 Olympics?

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Aditya Mohapatra

1022 articles

Aditya Mohapatra is a sports enthusiast who primarily covers the NBA for EssentiallySports. Having graduated in Mass Communication, he has prior experience in writing for ABP News, and has been writing for EssentiallySports since November 2020. This die-hard Los Angeles Lakers fan feels that LeBron James is the best thing to have ever happened to the NBA, and will hold a healthy debate with anyone suggesting otherwise.

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