Can Kevin Durant and Co. Stay Alive? Team USA vs Team Iran Tokyo Olympics Basketball 2020: Prediction, Injuries and Lineups

Published 07/27/2021, 8:25 AM EDT
Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Basketball – Men – Group A – France v United States – Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan – July 25, 2021. Kevin Durant of the United States and Damian Lillard of the United States look dejected after the match with teammates REUTERS/Brian Snyder


Basketball at the Tokyo Olympics 2020 has started with some shocking results. Team USA will return to action on Wednesday after facing an embarrassing defeat at the hands of France. Their opponents this time around will be a despondent Iranian side. Iran came up short against the Czech Republic, and will hope to make amends against a side that is superior on paper.

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Despite facing early losses, both teams have some positives heading into their second match. For USA, many players had a good outing, and it was a good opener to test the waters. For Iran, the side cut down a gigantic lead and fought till the last second. However, there is no room for negligence now. Both these sides are in must-win situations if they are to secure a spot in the knockout stage.

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Team USA vs Team Iran: Injury updates and predicted lineups

The American side faced a devastating loss at the hands of Rudy Gobert‘s French side. Going into their next match, Team USA has no further injury additions. The same side that was part of their squad for the first match will feature in Game-2 as well. Gregg Popovich’s side may consider starting Devin Booker over Zach LaVine.

Predicted lineup: Damian Lillard (G), Devin Booker (G), Bam Adebayo (C), Kevin Durant (F), Draymond Green (F).

For Iran, the opening 84-78 loss was a dagger to the heart. Nevertheless, Mehran Shahintab and his wounded soldiers are fit and ready for their uphill task in the second fixture. The Iranians have a full strength squad, and have an almost confirmed five as well.

Predicted lineup: Benam Yakhchali (G), Mohammed Jamshidi (G), Hammed Haddadi (C), Arsalan Kazemi (F), Samad Bahrami (F).

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Predictions for USA vs Iran fixture

After the opening couple of days, it can be argued that nothing can be firmly predicted. The men in blue suffered an agonizing beating and will aim to bounce back. Possessing skill and accuracy in every position, Popovich and his side are the favorites ahead of the match. Kevin Durant will be in focus, as he looks to get back to some scoring form.

Tokyo 2020 Olympics – Basketball – Men – Group A – France v United States – Saitama Super Arena, Saitama, Japan – July 25, 2021. Kevin Durant of the United States reacts REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Iran will surely look to spoil the party. They will be heavily dependent on their Guards to deliver for them. However, a 53-4 Olympic record plays into the hands of the experienced Americans. They are used to the big stage, and will have adapted to the new conditions by then. Unless there is a miraculous collapse, Team USA should cruise to a dominant victory.

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Sankalp Harikrishnan

224 articles

Sankalp Harikrishnan is a tennis and NBA writer at EssentiallySports. He aspires to pursue Sports Journalism and has represented his institution in cricket, badminton, football, and table tennis. Apart from his professional desires, Sankalp does voluntary service with his friends to feed hungry animals on a regular basis.

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