United States Eliminated From World Cup With Loss To France


Team USA basketball had won 58 consecutive worldwide games with NBA players - that was before Wednesday's quarterfinal matchup against France in the FIBA World Cup in China. It ends the 58-game winning streak the United States - using National Basketball Association players during that stretch - had in global tournaments.

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell was the Americans' star, leading the team with 29 points and scoring 14 points in the third quarter. Gobert finished with 21 points, 16 rebounds and three blocks.

France will face Argentina in the semifinals.

The exodus of star basketball players burned the United States in the FIBA Basketball World Cup championships. The U.S. had won two straight World Cups before the defeat. Mitchell and the Jazz could both be in store for a special year if he is able to carry over the momentum from this summer into the upcoming season. Marcus Smart scored 11 points off the bench for Team USA and Kemba Walker added 10 points. In fact, this is the first time that the US will be leaving a major tournament without a medal since 2002.

Much of the discussion surrounding the USA will focus on the absence of the NBA's biggest stars, with several big-name players pulling out before the World Cup teams began their training camps - such as Anthony Davis, James Harden and Damian Lillard - yet this is still a side that featured the likes of Kemba Walker, Donavan Mitchell, Jaylen Brown and Harrison Barnes. As he does in the NBA, Gobert has protected the paint, controlled the glass and found efficient ways to score for France.

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 USA this time against an athletic French side who dominated them in every department. For all the defense provided by the Stifle Tower down the stretch, it turns out the best defense played on Mitchell was by his own teammates.

The composition of Team USA's roster at those Olympics remains to be seen. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum missed the game with an ankle injury. If a team comprised of four of Boston's top guys couldn't advance past France, one can wonder exactly how they will fare against the top teams in the National Basketball Association.