Damian Lillard, Team USA Overwhelming Favorites To Beat Team Iran In Upcoming Matchup

Coach Gregg Popovich with Team USA players
Gettyimages | Gregory Shamus
Basketball

The USA men's national basketball team didn't have a good start in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. Despite having a roster consisting of some of the NBA's best players, Team USA suffered a huge upset at the hands of Team France, ending their 25-game winning steak in the Olympics. Luckily, Team USA still has a strong chance of advancing to the quarterfinals and capture the gold medal.

After losing to Team France, Team USA is set to face Team Iran, who is yet to earn their first win in the Olympics since 1948.

Team USA Expected To Get An Easy Win Against Team Iran

Kevin Durant on his way to the bench
Gettyimages | Gregory Shamus

Despite their disappointing performance against Team France, Team USA is still entering their upcoming matchup against Team Iran as the heavy favorites to win. According to CBS Sports, ET. William Hill Sportsbook lists Team USA as 40-point favorites to beat Team Iran, while the over-under for total points for the matchup is set at 167.

Though a major upset remains a possibility, the predictions for the game are no longer surprising. Unlike Team France, who has the likes of Evan Fournier, Rudy Gobert, and Nicolas Batum, Team USA's next opponent, Team Iran, currently doesn't have an active NBA player on their roster.

Damian Lillard Doesn't See Any Reason To Panic

Damian Lillard trying to score against Rudy Gobert
Gettyimages | Mike Ehrmann

When they lost to Team France, most people doubted Team USA's chances of winning the gold medal in the 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics. However, one of their main guys, Damian Lillard, doesn't see any reason to panic, believing that Team USA still has what it takes to accomplish their main goal in the Land of the rising sun.

"A lot of people will make it seem like the end of the world, but our job as professionals representing our country at the Olympics is to do what's necessary,” Lillard said, as quoted by CBS Sports. “We still can accomplish what we came here to accomplish."

Team USA has earned plenty of criticisms for their recent loss against Team France. However, instead of creating a distraction, it's expected to make them a more dangerous team in their upcoming games.

Who Should Team USA Watch Out For In Team Iran?

Hamed Haddadi
Gettyimages | Gregory Shamus

Though they don't have NBA superstars on their roster, Team Iran still has some players who could put up big numbers on the court. These include Hamed Haddadi, who played in the NBA for multiple seasons, and Behnam Yakhchali, a member of Mitteldeutscher BC of the German Basketball Bundesliga. Haddadi and Yakhchali were the two players who gave Team Czech Republic a huge headache in their previous matchup.

Haddadi finished the game with a double-double, 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Yakhchali posted a game-high 23 points.

Can Team Iran Upset Team USA?

Hamed Haddadi taking a free throw
Gettyimages | Gregory Shamus

Though the chances of them beating the star-studded Team USA is slim, SportsLine's Olympics expert Mike Tierney explained why Team Iran couldn't be underestimated.

"Yes, the Iranians entered the Olympics with astronomical odds to win gold after going winless in the 2019 FIBA World Championships," Tierney wrote. "However, they did manage an impressive eight-point loss in that tournament to Spain, which might be considered the favorite in Tokyo after Team USA's not-so-stunning loss to France in its opener."

Compared to Team USA, Team Iran has better chemistry on the court. Also, while Team Iran's players are all in perfect shape, some of the members of Team USA, specifically Devin Booker, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday, are showing signs of fatigue after just recently finishing an exhausting NBA Finals.