Sunday, 22 September, 2019

France knock holders US out in huge World Cup shock

Harrison Barnes of the US in action during the Basketball World Cup match against Serbia in Dongguan China on Sept 12 2019 France Hands Team USA First International Loss Since 2006
Shannon Reynolds | 12 September, 2019, 00:42

"My initial thought was if you were arrogant enough like at times US is to just take your D-league players and think that they're gonna beat like the best worldwide competition there is, I would say that's arrogance", he said.

France went blow-for-blow with the Americans in the final quarter to advance to the semifinals with an 89-79 victory. "And in this situation, it hurts more".

The US had won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competition, starting with the bronze-medal game at the 2006 world championships and continuing through every FIBA Americas, World Cup and Olympics event since.

As well as winning the past two World Cups, they have also won the past three Olympic titles. He was averaging 14.6 points per game, the best scoring average on the team.

The absence of the top American players created a golden opportunity for France.

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"Just got to take it like a man at this point", U.S guard Kemba Walker said. The French held the U.S.to 4 for 15 shooting in the fourth quarter - and benefited from the Americans going 4 for 11 from the foul line in the final 10 minutes. "Whether it's 29, zero, we lost".

Gobert and Orlando Magic guard Evan Fournier led France throughout the game, and Gobert was impactful on both ends of the floor.

When the Americans sent help, there wasn't much they could do with Gobert's size, as he got position well down low.

France was up 10 early in the second half. He thinks this may have players taking action and saying, "Next time around the block we're gonna have to show up". With a 13 to 9 offensive rebound advantage and a 44 to 28 total rebound advantage, Gobert and France controlled the glass from start to finish. Jayson Tatum missed Wednesday's matchup with an ankle injury, and Marcus Smart finishing the morning as Team USA's No. 2 scorer is a clear sign something was amiss. Mitchell has plenty of experience as a lead guard in big moments, carrying Utah in the postseason both as a rookie in 2018 and in his second National Basketball Association season past year.

That's not to say that they were not talented, of course. Team USA faces Serbia on Thursday in the fifth- to eighth-place bracket. In the other semi-final, Spain will meet the victor of Australia's match with the Czech Republic. France took advantage of mismatches again, and Team USA went away from Mitchell - he didn't score in the fourth.

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