France shocks US in World Cup quarters

France shocks US in World Cup quarters

Team USA basketball had won 58 consecutive global games with NBA players - that was before Wednesday's quarterfinal matchup against France in the FIBA World Cup in China. It ended a streak of 58 straight worldwide competition wins for the U.S. squad in which National Basketball Association players participated. But, it's clear that major changes are going to need to be made to the roster if the Americans plan to avoid another early elimination next summer.

As the duo began to tire, Team USA hit back thanks to a one-man show from Donovan Mitchell, who netted 14 of his 29 points in the third quarter to give the 2014 champions a 66-63 lead ahead of the final 10 minutes.

He had 14 points in the third quarter, and his dunk with 2:40 left pulled the USA into a 60-60 tie.

Having ground out a barely deserved 93-92 overtime win over Turkey in the preliminary group stage, there was to be no escape for the US this time against an athletic French side who dominated them in every department.

What eventually worked for the Americans was their aggressiveness on defense in the third quarter. However, a surge by France snapped that lead. He has already established himself as one of the best defensive players in the National Basketball Association, and like Mitchell, he appears primed for a big-time season in Utah. France took advantage of mismatches again, and Team USA went away from Mitchell - he didn't score in the fourth. The team had too many isolation plays on offense, particularly for Boston Celtics guard Kemba Walker. Walker finished 2-for-9 from the field. Indiana Pacers center Myles Turner, who had played well during the tournament, struggled as well.


After the game, FIBA shared on its website three more statistics, which add an historic perspective to Team USA's loss to France.

France outrebounded the US 21-12 in the first half, Gobert found his way to the line 10 times in the game's first 20 minutes and the Americans went into the break trailing 45-39. Gobert even feasted on the offensive end late, punishing Team USA guards off switches for easy layups and dunks. Perhaps a more formidable US squad could attack Gobert and the French defense, especially one armed with either elite isolation scorers (hello, James Harden) or athletic marvels like Anthony Davis.

Fournier benefited from the Americans not playing aggressive enough on high ball screens.

Though Team USA lost, players showed growth throughout the tournament. Mitchell showed he's improved as a facilitator, averaging 4.3 assists a game in six games.

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