France snaps Team USA’s worldwide win streak

Ross Houston
September 11, 2019

The exodus of star basketball players burned the United States in the FIBA Basketball World Cup championships.

Wednesday's loss came to a French team with National Basketball Association players Evan Fournier and Rudy Gobert, who combined for 43 points. The shock defeat sent Team USA to the fifth-eighth place semifinals, where it will face Serbia on Thursday knowing it has failed to match feats of its forbearers. The U.S. will clearly have to make some major tweaks to the roster before the Olympics get underway.

"It doesn't mean anything if you don't win in the end", Gobert said.

Khris Middleton of the US congratulates Bogdan Bogdanovic of Serbia
Camera Icon Khris Middleton of the US congratulates Bogdan Bogdanovic of Serbia

The United States had won 58 straight tournament games with National Basketball Association players in FIBA and Olympic competition before the loss.

As well as winning the past two World Cups, they have also won the past three Olympic titles.

Several superstars withdrew from the national team this summer, leaving head coach Gregg Popovich to coach a squad that was low on talent but determined to prove doubters wrong. "This is very important and we would have loved to have won. but we're all grown, we all have families and lives and life goes on".

Both Argentina and France will be ecstatic after knocking out the two favourites, which sets up a mouth-watering tie between the two on Friday.

On the other side of the coin are Celtics fans, who might understandably feel slightly concerned following the United States' elimination from the World Cup, considering the fact that four of Boston's key contributors were on Team USA's roster.

However, only two other Americans scored in double figures as Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

France: Gobert played the first 12:26. France capitalised on that and were led by the exceptional Rudy Gobert, as well as Evan Fournier and Frank Ntilikina. With Gobert guarding the paint, this was a game where the US needed their scorers to step up and carry them into the semis, yet ultimately only Mitchell was able to assume that responsibility.

Though Team USA lost, players showed growth throughout the tournament. Jayson Tatum (sprained left ankle) missed his fourth consecutive game.

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