France Eliminate USA From FIBA World Cup

Why Team USA got booted from the World Cup by France relegating it to no better than a fifth-place finish

Holders the United States suffered a shock 89-79 loss to France in the quarter-finals of the Basketball World Cup in China on Wednesday.

The United States had won 58 straight tournament games with National Basketball Association players in FIBA and Olympic competition before the loss. Gobert's Utah teammate carried Team USA for the opening 30 minutes, pouring in 29 points, including 12 in the third quarter.

Fournier led France with 22 points and shot 4-of-8 from beyond the arc, while Gobert poured in 21 points to go with 16 rebounds, with seven coming on the offensive glass. The last time they failed to do so was back at the 2006 World Cup as they won a bronze medal.

As well as winning the past two World Cups, they have also won the past three Olympic titles.

However, only two other Americans scored in double figures as Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker finished with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

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Both teams gave up leads in the second half. In fact, this is the first time that the US will be leaving a major tournament without a medal since 2002. But the last meeting between the nations was only a 100-97 USA win at the Rio de Janeiro Olympics three years ago, and France returned three players - Gobert, De Colo and Batum - who got minutes in that game. 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. Team USA faces Serbia on Thursday in the fifth- to eighth-place bracket.

Nando De Colo scored 18 for France.

In the fourth quarter, though, the Americans' play on defense went away.

On the other side of the coin are Celtics fans, who might understandably feel slightly concerned following the United States' elimination from the World Cup, considering the fact that four of Boston's key contributors were on Team USA's roster.

Though Team USA lost, players showed growth throughout the tournament. They were without Jayson Tatum due to an ankle injury, and the scoring burden laid exclusively on Mitchell's shoulders as he put up 29 points in 31:51 minutes. In the other semi-final, Spain will meet the victor of Australia's match with the Czech Republic.

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