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Fournier stars, Tatum struggles as Team USA falls to France

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USA lost their first game in Olympic play since 2004

2020 Tokyo Olympics: France v USA Photo by Ned Dishman/NBAE via Getty Images

The Olympics didn’t get off to the start Team USA wanted, as they fell 83-76 to France. For the Boston Celtics, the day was an eventful, but uneven one.

On the plus side, free-agent-to-be Evan Fournier dominated with 28 points on 11-of-22 shooting. At times, Fournier was the best player on a court filled with NBA All-Stars. His big game included burying a key three-pointer late in the fourth quarter to give France a lead they would never relinquish.

Boston acquired Fournier from the Orlando Magic at the trade deadline last season. He played well for the Celtics, despite battling COVID-19. Fournier will be an unrestricted free agent when the NBA offseason opens on Monday, August 2.

Jayson Tatum had a rough offensive game for Team USA. He came off the bench and scored nine points on just 3-of-9 shooting. Tatum’s defense was solid, as he switched onto guards and bigs alike. Boston’s All-Star forward finished with two blocks. Somewhat surprisingly, Tatum wasn’t a part of the USA’s closing lineup, despite lots of struggles for the team down the stretch.

Two other players with Celtics ties factored into the victory for France. 2016 first-round pick Guerschon Yabusele started and finished with six points and four rebounds. The Dancing Bear also made several hustle plays for France. He was also fairly stout defensively in a tough matchup against Kevin Durant.

Vincent Poirier who spent the better part of two seasons in Boston also played for France. He came in off the bench as part of a two-big lineup to spark the French in the third quarter. His play helped key a turnaround and got France back into the game. Poirier finished with three points, four rebounds and two assists.

Team USA will look to get on track in their next game vs Iran. That game will be played at 12:40 AM ET on Wednesday, July 28. It’s now a must-win for the Americans if they are to advance out of pool play and into the knockout round.

France will play next on Wednesday, July 28 at 8:00 AM ET against Czech Republic. The Czech’s opened Group A pool play by beating Iran.