The 7 teams that can beat Team USA at the 2019 FIBA World Cup, ranked
Team USA is vulnerable, but who is best equipped to make them pay?
The U.S. men’s basketball team suffered its first global tournament loss in 13 years, beaten by France 89-79 in the FIBA World Cup quarterfinals on Wednesday. The U.S., which was bidding for the first World Cup three-peat, will leave worlds in China without a medal. © Getty Images
The Americans had won 58 straight games with NBA players among the Olympics, World Cup and FIBA Americas since its last defeat in the 2006 World Cup semifinals to Greece.
The Americans, led by Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell (29 points), battled back from a 10-point, third-quarter deficit to lead by seven early in the fourth.
But France, with Rudy Gobert (21 points, 16 rebounds), went on an 11-point run in the fourth to retake the lead. A full box score is here.
U.S. escapes Turkey at FIBA World Cup in closest game in 13 years
The U.S., without NBA superstars, is vulnerable at the FIBA World Cup.
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This U.S. team was deemed vulnerable after every NBA superstar withdrew from World Cup roster consideration.
What was left was a roster, under new head coach Gregg Popovich, with two 2019 NBA All-Stars (Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton) and one player with Olympic experience (Harrison Barnes).
That notion was confirmed with a pre-tournament loss to Australia, snapping a 78-game win streak with NBA players when including exhibitions. Then tested again in group play last week, when the U.S. eked past 17th-ranked Turkey by one point in overtime.
The U.S. was due for a step up in competition by starting knockout play against France, which has five NBA players, including Gobert, Evan Fournier and Nicolas Batum. The French challenged the Americans at the Rio Olympics, losing 100-97 in group play.
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The World Cup continues later Wednesday with the last quarterfinal between Australia and the Czech Republic. Spain gets that winner in Friday’s semifinals. The other semi pits the Argentina against France.
MORE: FIBA World Cup schedule, results
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