Nigeria’s men’s basketball national tem, D’Tigers’ coach, Mike Brown has admitted that his side have been weak defensively during their first two group matches at the ongoing Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan, hence their inability to hold their own against Australia and Germany.
Megasportsarena.com reports that the assistant coach at San Antonio Spurs in USA’s National Basketball Association (NBA) gave kudos to his offensively line and the ability of the squad to pull in turnovers, but submitted that their inability to hold on defensively accounted for three straight defeats.
Indeed, b’ball experts were unanimous that D’Tigers showed unexpected weakness in defiance from their opening match defeat against Australia, as the Nigerian team were poor with 47% from three points, 57% from two points and record 18 turnovers.
D’Tigers then lost 92-99 to Germany in their second Group B match, after dropping their first game 67-84 defeat to The Boomers of Australia at Saitama Arena, despite entering the contest in high spirits, with historic victories over USA and Argentina in exhibition games.
However, signs of a tough terrain to trail came when the Nigerian side lost to Australia in their final exhibition game by a huge margin of 39 points (108-69) and the reality check has spread into the Olympics.
They failed to improve in the next game versus Germany, thereby leaving Brown ruing the end of all pre-competition enthusiasm and the great expectations that preceded their flight to Tokyo have ended up in an anti-climax when the chips come down.
D’Tigers will now face world number 10 Italy in their final group fixtures and they will aim to get their first win of the Tokyo 2020 Games while they hope to progress through to the next round, but Brown is no longer sounding optimistic.
Brown also admitted that his side failed to protect the ball and need to be smarter defensively, as he told fiba.com: “We felt like we were a good defensive team coming into this tournament and our guys had done a tremendous job on that side of the ball.
“We talked about defending the three-point line against these guys, talked about not sending them to the free throw line, and we talked about taking care of the ball.
“(Getting) 18 turnovers weren’t bad, but because a handful of those were offensive fouls, but the way that we defended, it is just not who we are.”