NBA

5 Interesting Facts From Team USA’s Stunning World Cup Loss to France

Gregg Popovich coach of USA in action

In the weeks leading up to the FIBA World Cup, the United States suffered an upset loss to Australia in an exhibition game that marked the first time the USA had lost in an international game since doing so in the world championship semifinals to Greece in 2006. So there were warning signs that this team was no sure thing to win the world championship this year; but the result still came as a stunner.

Team USA was eliminated from the FIBA World Cup Tuesday in an 89-79 loss to France. Here are five stats

1. France broke the USA’s 58-game tournament winning streak

The loss to Australia last month snapped a 78-game international winning streak for Team USA. But that game was just a friendly exhibition matchup. In defeating the United States in tournament play, France snapped a 58-game tournament winning streak for the Americans that dated back to that 2006 loss to Greece.

Evan Fournier, who plays for the Orlando Magic, led the French in scoring with 22 of the team’s 89 points.

2. The United States blew a seven-point fourth quarter lead

The game had its share of swings. France led by 10 before the United States went on a 31-14 run that put the team up seven points in the fourth quarter. But it was France that had the game’s last significant swing, going on a 15-2 run to take an 82-76 lead that they would never relinquish.

3. France had never beaten Team USA in major international play

Rudy Gobert drives to the hoop for France
Rudy Gobert drives to the hoop for France | Photo by Lintao Zhang/Getty Images

Before Tuesday’s win, France was 0-9 in its previous nine competitive games against Team USA. France came close to an upset the last time these two teams met in the Rio de Janeiro Olympics in 2016, losing to that Team USA squad by a final score of 100-97. None of the players who played on that United States team were on the roster in this year’s FIBA World Cup.

4. Donovan Mitchell scored 29 points in three quarters

Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz was dominant through the first three quarters of this game scoring 29 points before the fourth quarter began. Unfortunately for Team USA, Mitchell’s hot streak came to an abrupt end in the fourth quarter when the 23-year-old was held without a point.

Mitchell’s Utah Jazz teammate Rudy Gobert got the last laugh, finishing the night with 21 points and 16 rebounds for the French side.

5. The United States were 8.5-point betting favorites

Donovan Mitchell couldn't keep it going in the fourth quarter
Donovan Mitchell couldn’t keep it going in the fourth quarter | Photo by Zhizhao Wu/Getty Images

Team USA was around an 8.5-point betting favorite over France. Going off at -430 (bet $43 to win $10) on the moneyline, the United States was projected to have about an 80% chance to win this matchup.

But the result went the other way, and Gregg Popovich and the Americans will leave China empty-handed. It will be interesting to see how this loss affects Team USA’s international roster in 2020; will more star players be inclined to join the team to earn the United States some redemption, or will players not want to face the potential embarrassment that this year’s group is feeling right now?