Team USA Basketball is upset by France in the quarterfinals of the 2019 FIBA World Cup, but it was everything but surprising
When it became clear that most of the top American-born NBA superstars were not going to participate in the 2019 FIBA World Cup for USA Basketball, a disappointing end in the tournament felt somewhat inevitable.
And that’s not a knock on the players that did choose to participate in this year’s FIBA World Cup. In fact, it’s a testament to how much the rest of the world has begun to catch up with the sport. Nevertheless, that doesn’t make it any less disappointing.
Even with a “watered-down” roster heading into the tournament, Team USA was still considered the slight favorites by most. After all, it was still the only national team with a fully-equipped NBA roster.
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In the end, it didn’t matter. Team USA’s fate was sealed after a disasterous fourth quarter against France in the Quarterfinals. USA’s 10-point loss to France was the team’s first FIBA defeat since 2006.
France was powered by an excellent performance by Rudy Gobert, who finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds. Evan Fournier added 22 points and Frank Ntilikina scored 11 points for France. Team USA took a three-point lead into the fourth quarter, but only managed to score 13 points in the final frame as France raced off with the victory.
No matter what the roster looked like, this will be looked back as an utter disappointment. Over the last decade, Team USA had made it quite common to blow its opponents out of the water. In this year’s tournament, it was somewhat the perfect storm.
The top talent that USA had to offer was adamant on not participating in this year’s tournament, and that’s perfectly OK. However, that coupled with the rest of the world catching up in the sport equated to an upset waiting to happen.
If it’s any consolation, with their performance in this tournament USA Basketball did qualify for the 2020 Olympics.
Team USA will now face Serbia in a fifth-place game.