Team USA saw its 58-game winning streak in worldwide tournaments featuring NBA players end Wednesday with an 89-79 loss to France in the quarterfinals of the FIBA World Cup in Dongguan, China, ensuring USA Basketball can not medal.
The Americans, two-time defending champs with a roster full of National Basketball Association players but few stars, hadn't lost a World Cup or Olympic game since September 1, 2006, a 48-game winning streak.
Defending champions United States of America lost their first game in the tournament since 2006 as their star-studded line-up failed to deliver and France advanced to the last four. According to France's Nicolas Batum, those comments fired up the Jazz center, who paced his team with 21 points, 16 boards, three blocked shots and a steal.
Donovan Mitchell led the USA with 29 points. The centre racked up 21 points, 16 rebounds and two assists in 34:09 minutes and was a nightmare for the USA whenever they tried to come near the paint.
For the first time since 2006, the USA sent National Basketball Association players to a major worldwide tournament and won't win gold. "A lot of people counted us out, but we got the win".
"It doesn't mean anything if you don't win in the end", Gobert said.
France was up 10 early in the second half.
"We beat the USA, and that's huge, but we haven't won anything yet", France's Nicolas Batum said. Walker is one of the NBA's leading pick-and-roll players, but neither he nor the rest of Team USA could put Gobert on skates a la Steph Curry. Ntilikina scored 11 for France. Boston forward Jayson Tatum didn't play due to an ankle injury. Trailing for much of the game, the USA rode Mitchell to a second-half comeback, even taking a 74-67 lead in the final eight minutes. He scored a team-high 22 points and had four assists.
While Team USA is not going to walk away with any medals in China, it was able to qualify for the 2020 Olympics in Japan.
Argentina were excellent as they beat the Nikola Jokic-led Serbia 97-87 on Tuesday, and France followed that up with an impressive 89-79 win over the powerful United States.