Paul George admits he underestimated Olympic competition

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Football News

The United States of America were involved in another close game on Sunday night as they overcame France 100-97 in their final group game.

Heading into the knockout stages, the outright favourites have not had it all their own way and the seeds of doubt have crept in from fans and media alike.

Tight contests against Australia and Serbia before their latest fixture have made the contest a lot more interesting, and Paul George insisted the 2016 Olympics are not a tournament the United States are going to run away with, he even admitted he underestimated the level of international basketball.

"I think to start out, personally, I thought we were going to dominate and these games were going to be easy, he said. "We started playing better competition, I think you see, across the board, these teams are pretty good.

"The luxury they have is they've been together for so long. You really can't stress that enough. You see it. They just read each other so well. I think that's the biggest thing that really separates us from them."

Before the match with France, George said his compatriots were relying too much on their own individual brilliance instead of playing team basketball. However, his words of encouragement appeared to fall on deaf ears as the same style of play continued in Brazil.

Despite going 5-0 in Group A, it has been far from comfortable and the potential for an upset in coach Mike Krzyzewski's last tournament continues to grow. Neither Spain or Lithuania will be fearful of the States having seen their performances so far.

One positive to take away from the previous outing was the return to form of Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson. Having shot just 18 percent from three-point range in the first four games, he dropped a game-high 30 points. However, their lacklustre defence is still causing problems.

DeMarcus Cousins' defensive limitations have been highlighted during the contests, as have Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony's - among others. Although still expected to win gold, the US will have to up their game to ensure they avoid a repeat of 2004.

Paul George
Indiana Pacers
Central Division
Eastern Conference
Team USA Olympics

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