France spoils Team USA's hope of third consecutive title

Donovan Mitchell

France Hands Team USA First International Loss Since 2006

Team USA fell to France 89-79 on Wednesday in Dongguan, China, in the 2019 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals.

The United States' winning streak in global competitions ended Wednesday with a loss to France in the 2019 FIBA World Cup.

More good news for Jazz fans is Donovan Mitchell was the single highlight for Team USA in that defeat, having carried whatever hopes his team had for hanging with France, scoring 29 points, hauling six rebounds and collecting four assists.

Gobert showed why he's regarded as one of the best big men in the league, finishing with a dominant stat line of 21 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 blocks.

While this was a rough one for USA Basketball, it's a signature moment for Gobert and France, who will take on Argentina in the semifinals on Friday. American superstars will likely return for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, but it will be interesting to see if this becomes a World Cup trend or whether USA Basketball again responds to its first major tournament loss since the 2004 Athens Olympics.

Australia will use the enduring pain of the Rio 2016 Olympics when they face Spain in the other semi-final.

To the surprise of nobody around here, Mitchell, still only 23 years old, emerged as an authentic, conscientious leader for Team USA. And then the French responded with a 15-2 run over the next five minutes, going up 82-76 on a long jumper by Frank Ntilikina with 2:05 left.

Rudy Gobert
VCG VCG via Getty Images

France had been 0-9 against the U.S. in major global play, most of those outcomes one-sided affairs. But the last meeting between the nations was only a 100-97 US 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. However, a surge by France snapped that lead.

France: Gobert played the first 12:26.

He had 14 points in the third quarter alone, and his dunk with 2:40 left pulled the United States into a 60-60 tie. Celtics forward Jayson Tatum missed the game with an ankle injury.

"I don't think that's the way I am", Gobert said. In the other semi-final, Spain will meet the victor of Australia's match with the Czech Republic.

However, France finished the game out with a 26-13 fourth quarter.

Expect a much more loaded roster for Team USA next summer as they look for a fourth-straight Olympic gold medal.

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