Team USA Suffers Historic Americup Loss To Cuba

Elfrid Payton, Team USA, NBA
Feb 10, 2022; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Phoenix Suns guard Elfrid Payton (2) against the Milwaukee Bucks at Footprint Center. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

There has been a lot of discussion about which NBA players could take part in the Summer Olympics in 2024 in Paris. This could be the last time we see stars such as Stephen Curry, LeBron James and Kevin Durant take the court during international competition.

For a long time, the USA dominated these international competitions, steamrolling opposing countries with ease once NBA players were admitted to play. However, the competition has become more fierce in recent years with other countries getting closer to the United States in skill level.

While the United States don’t always send established players to tournaments, they are considered the favorites nearly every time an international competition is held. That is what makes Sunday’s results so shocking.

In the Americup Qualifier against Cuba on Sunday, the United States got crushed. Cuba defeated them 81-67, riding a huge 26-10 first quarter to victory. It was a win that the president of Cuba called, “historic, sensational and inspiring!”

NBA NEWS & RUMORS: Team USA, Cuba National Team, Americup Qualfier Updates

Several NBA players took part for Team USA, including Elfrid Payton, Stanley Johnson and Jordan Bell. Every player on the roster has NBA, G League or international experience, making this defeat all the more surprising.

The red, white and blue shot an embarrassing 25-of-70 from the field, making only 1-of-16 3-point attempts. Cuba wasn’t much better shooting the ball, as they shot 27-of-64 from the field, but that was more than enough to pick up a 14-point win.

Five different players on Cuba scored at least nine points in the game as they were led by Pedro Bombino with 19. Only three USA players scored at least nine points, with RaiQuan Gray leading the way with a team-high 17.

It will be a while before USA can get back on the court and attempt to put this loss behind them. They won’t play again until November 2024, as another qualifying game held during the NBA season means a lot of players not recognizable to casual fans will be making up the roster.

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