FIBA World Cup 2019: 3 Talking Points from USA vs France
In a game that involved 12 lead changes and 12 ties, France snapped USA's 58-game winning streak (non-exhibition games) in international games as they inflicted an 89-79 defeat on the Americans in the quarterfinals of 2019 FIBA World Cup.
In what followed a rather dull first period with both teams scoring just 18 points on 19 possessions, the French went on a formidable 18-8 run of their own to cement a comfortable cushion at half-time.
The eventual defeat meant that the Americans - made up entirely of NBA players - won't be able to bag a third straight FIBA gold medal. Moreover, this will only be the second time in the 10 editions of the tournament that USA will finish without any medal for that matter.
Coach Pop and his USA squad will meet Jokic and Serbia in a 5th to 8th place classification game with the 5th place of the tournament up for grabs. Meanwhile, France advance to meet Argentina in the semis.
Let's skim through a bunch of prominent takeaways from this major upset.
#1 The lack of international experience sinks Team USA's World Cup hopes
As is already known, this was clearly not the best squad that the Americans could have fielded. For all it's worth, the roster of 12 players was finalized when Kyle Kuzma withdrew, leaving Coach Pop with no room for choice, but to roll with what he had. And when Tatum went down in just the second game of the tournament, the date of USA's inevitable elimination shifted even closer.
With no apparent disrespect to the skill level of players on this team, this hastily-put collection of individual talents never looked worthy of a gold medal. Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton are legit NBA All-Stars, Joe Harris is a reigning three-point shooting contest winner, while Donovan Mitchell's scoring abilities are unquestionable. Yet, this happened to be the group to lay waste to Americans' streak of five straight major tournament titles.
Right from the exhibition loss against Australia to the OT scare against Turkey, Team USA exhibited a glaring lack of international playing experience, which was bound to prove lethal were they to came up against the big dogs. And that is exactly the kind of threat that France posed, only a bit too earlier in the knockouts than the Americans would have expected.