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NBA stars maul Iranians to get bid back on track

SAITAMA—The USA easily beat Iran 120-66 in the Olympic men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday to bounce back from their shock opening defeat—and players and coaches from the geopolitical rivals chatted afterwards.

The Americans had their 25-game Olympic winning streak snapped by France in their first game but Damian Lillard scored 21 points and Devin Booker had 16 points in a straightforward win against the Iranians.

Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games
BOUNCE BACK WIN. USA's Devin Booker goes for a dunk in the men's preliminary round group A basketball match between Iran and USA during the Tokyo 2020 Olympic Games at the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama. The Americans, who lost their first game to the French, won this time, 120-66. AFP
Kevin Durant had another low-key game with 10 points but he was one of six Americans in double figures in Saitama.

Hamed Haddadi and Mohammadsamad Nik Khahbahrami each scored 14 points for Iran, against the team of NBA stars.

The Americans can secure their place in the knockout stage with a win against the Czech Republic in their final Group A game on Saturday.

US coach Gregg Popovich spoke with his Iranian opposite number Mehran Shahintab after the game and said: “People generally get along and appreciate each other, no matter what country you are talking about. I really believe that.

“This is a time where sport transcends all of the petty crap you get from governments.

“There is no surprise that coaches would enjoy meeting each other and the players would show sportsmanship.”

Topics: NBA stars , USA , Tokyo Olympics , men’s basketball tournament
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