Despite managing to stitch together only a second-string roster for the 2019 FIBA World Cup, Team USA were still expected to at least go deep in the competition and land a podium finish. After all, they still had the likes of Gregg Popovich and Steve Kerr in the coaching unit.
However, that wasn't to be as France knocked out the defending champions in the quarterfinals after beating them 89-79. Reigning NBA Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert was at the helm of it all, scoring 21 points, grabbing 16 rebounds and effecting 3 blocks. The 7'1 center was aided in his exploits by Evan Fournier who chipped in with 22 points of his own.
USA came into this game on a high, having fended off the likes of Japan, Greece, and Brazil with relative ease after a scarily close encounter against Turkey and had remained unbeaten in the tourney so far. France, on the other hand, played some dominant basketball – something they were expected to do anyway – and only lost the solitary game against Australia where the scoreline stood 100-98 in favor of the Boomers.
As was anticipated, the game was a rugged affair right from the tip-off, with both sides playing some commendable defense. It was only in the second quarter that France were able to command some authority in the game, leading 45-39 at half-time.
The Americans though, were unfazed by this adversity as they rallied back – led by Donovan Mitchell who ended with 29 points on the night – and reclaimed the lead in the third quarter. However, France continued to toil hard on the court to make it a neck and neck affair.
It was down the stretch where the inexperience of playing in FIBA tournaments really hurt Team USA. The likes of Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker missed crucial free throws despite recording career averages of 76% and 84% respectively from the charity stripe in the NBA. This, coupled with some poor turnovers and absolute dominance in the paint by Rudy Gobert and Co. led to the ousting of Gregg Popovich's side.
On that note, let us look at how the Twitterati reacted to the result of this game: