USA vs. Iran: TV Time, Live Stream, Prediction for 2021 Olympic Men's Basketball

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJuly 27, 2021

United States' Zach LaVine plays against Australia during an exhibition basketball game Monday, July 12, 2021, in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher)
John Locher/Associated Press

The United States men's basketball team will get a much-needed opportunity to jell when they play Iran in their second game in the 2021 Olympics. 

Team USA got off to the worst start imaginable, stumbling down the stretch and losing to a France team that will now be the favorite to win Group A. But the team of NBA players didn't go to Tokyo to win their group, they went to win gold. 

That's still in play. They will be big favorites against Iran and in the following game against the Czech Republic. 

While this game isn't likely to be competitive, it will still provide an important opportunity for the Olympic team to figure some things out and get on the same page before the competition once again ramps up. 

Let's take a look at the particulars of the broadcast and how to watch before diving into the matchup. 


Olympic Men's Basketball

Who: United States vs. Iran

When: Wednesday, July 28 at 12:40 a.m. ET

Where: Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan

Live Stream: NBCOlympics.com and Peacock

TV: Re-air on NBC Wednesday afternoon; re-air on NBC Sports Network in primetime


Preview and Predictions

Simply put, Iran isn't France. 

When it comes to FIBA Asia competitions, Iran is among the top teams. The country has won multiple championships in its FIBA zone and qualified for the Olympics, but it hasn't won a game in the Olympics since 1948. 

The roster doesn't feature one NBA player and finished 23rd in the 2019 World Cup. 

The one area that could be interesting to watch is that Iran does have some size in the frontcourt. The United States struggled when France went with their jumbo lineup featuring Rudy Gobert and Vincent Poirier. 

The Iranian's do have a former NBA center in 7'2" Hamed Haddadi. The big man posted 15 points and 10 rebounds in the loss to the Czech Republic. He's obviously not Gobert, who is an elite interior defender, but he's a weapon that Iran will surely use. 

For the Americans, this game isn't just about winning, it's about settling in. Star point guard Damian Lillard expressed the team's need to let the game come to them more. 

"We all just, I think, just trying too hard…instead of just being who we are—the best players in the NBA," Lillard said, per Joe Vardon of The Athletic. "Shots just didn't fall. We had opportunities down the stretch, just didn't make them."

Eric Gay/Associated Press

Vardon also noted their could be some discontent from the players on the American team:

"The players are frustrated, too, grumbling on their way back to the locker room about 'running the San Antonio offense' when apparently they feel like there are better ideas."

Popovich has had to build on the fly. A few players who were coming in from the NBA Finals didn't arrive in Tokyo until the middle of the night before playing in the morning. 

One of those players, Jrue Holiday, ended up being a top performer for the Red, White and Blue. He led the team in scoring with 18 points and snagged seven rebounds. 

The Spurs head coach is certainly one of the best minds in the game. However, the Olympic team has struggled under his watch. They lost two of the three friendlies they played in preparation for Tokyo and have now lost their opener to France. 

They shot just 36.2 percent from the field in the loss. The players could very well have a point when it comes to the offensive concepts they are running. After all, this is a team with Kevin Durant, Damian Lillard, Zach LaVine, Jayson Tatum and Devin Booker. 

Popovich might be wise to try some things against an outmanned Iran squad as the United States is running out of time for a gold medal run to materialize. 

Prediction: Team USA 87, Iran 52