NBA

Team USA basketball vs. Czech Republic, Tokyo Olympics: United States looks to close out group play with a win

Team USA opened Olympic play with a disappointing loss to France, but they were able to bounce back with a monster win over Iran. Now, they’ll be looking for their second straight victory when they take on the Czech Republic. The Czech Republic enters the contest having also defeated Iran and lost to France in their first two games. 

The 12 teams that are competing in the Olympics are split into three groups and every team within a group faces the other three teams from the group for a total of three games in the group stage. The teams that finish in first and second place from each group will advance into the quarterfinals, along with the two best third-place teams overall. The game between the U.S. and the Czech Republic is the final game of group play for this foursome. With a victory, Team USA will secure its spot in the knockout stage, which will run from Aug. 3-7, and the same could be said for the Czech Republic. 

Unlike Team USA, whose roster is comprised entirely of NBA players, the Czech Republic has just one current NBA player on its roster — Chicago Bulls guard Tomas Satoransky. The team has also former Washington Wizards and Denver Nuggets big man Jan Veselý. Given the talent disparity between the two teams, the U.S. enters the contest as an overwhelming favorite. 

Here’s everything you need to know about the matchup between the United States and the Czech Republic.   

United States vs. Czech Republic

  • Date: Saturday, July 31 | Time: 8 a.m. ET
  • Location: Saitama Super Arena — Saitama, Japan 
  • TV: Peacock | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
  • Odds: USA -4500; CRP +1500 | O/U: 183.5 (via William Hill Sportsbook)

Storylines

United States: Team USA looked much better in their second game against Iran than they did in their Olympic opener against France, and that fact wasn’t lost on the players. 

“I think we came out with a lot more urgency,” Dame Lillard said after the win over Iran. “Our energy was higher, we played at a faster pace. We were more aggressive, and we played like ourselves. We didn’t come out here and think that it was just gonna happen, we made it happen, and that’s the way that we got to play if we want to be successful in these Olympics… I think our communication as a group, you know, just being in a hotel together, being in the dining areas together, at practice shooting around just talking, I feel like after that loss we came together. It was a lot of communication between then and now where it was like alright it’s time start looking like Team USA.” 

The fact that the chemistry, both on and off of the court, seems to be growing within Team USA is good news for them, and bad news for the rest of the field. The U.S. is easily the most talented team in the Olympics, and when they play up to their potential. they’re extremely tough to topple. As such, their goal needs to just continue to be to play with the proper focus and energy. Plus, knocking down shots helps too. As a team, the U.S. shot just 36 percent from the floor against France, but they bumped that up to 44 percent against Iran. If the U.S. can play with that aforementioned focus and energy and also continue to make shots, they should be in good shape, both against the Czech Republic and beyond. 

Czech Republic: Since establishing itself as a country in 1993, the Czech Republic has never qualified for Olympic play before this year, so this entire experience is extremely noteworthy for them. But, when it comes to their first-ever Olympic matchup with the United States, well, they’re simply overmatched. They have only two players with any NBA experience on their roster, while the U.S. roster is filled with NBA All-Stars, champions, and a former MVP in Kevin Durant. The Czech Republic was only able to defeat Iran by six points, while the U.S. annihilated the Iranian team, 120-66. In short, this game could be a tough one for the Czechs. 

Prediction 

Team USA is the (much) more talented team on paper, and the chemistry within the team appears to be growing. After dropping two exhibition games and their opener to France, one has to assume that the U.S. will be eager to avoid any further let-downs. The U.S. needs a win to secure their spot in the next stage of Olympic play, and they’re going to get it. Pick: Team USA – 24


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