The exodus of star basketball players burned the United States in the FIBA Basketball World Cup championships.
Team USA will not medal in the FIBA World Cup, a disappointment for a program that's dominated worldwide competition, after losing 89-79 to France on Wednesday in China.
The top American players like LeBron James and Stephen Curry opted not to play in the tournament, while Jayson Tatum and Kyle Kuzma were injured while the team played warmup games ahead of the Tokyo tournament. US entered the game with a 58-game win streak in major global competitions, which tells you all you need to know. France expanded its lead to as much as 10 points in the third period, though Donavan Mitchell didn't let them celebrate too early.
France, who were beaten late by The Boomers last start, rode the impressive outings of National Basketball Association duo Rudy Gobert and Evan Fournier, who combined for 43 points to pace the French unit. Boston Celtics guards Marcus Smart and Kemba Walker scored 11 and 10 points, respectively. In the fourth, Team USA squandered a seven-point lead and went scoreless over six consecutive possessions at one point.
The U.S. faces Serbia in the consolation round Thursday.
Rudy Gobert flew high for an imposing dunk with two minutes to go in the game, and the momentum changed completely in France's favor. Argentina upset a heavily favored Serbian squad, and the French upset sets up a very interesting semifinal matchup.
The Boomers had never before finished better than fifth, doing so in 1982 and again in 1994, although they have finished fourth in the Olympics four times, including in 2016.
The USA will now play in the 5th-8th placed classification games. The former San Antonio Spur was clearly thrilled with France's win even though his former coach, Gregg Popovich, is the coach of Team USA.
The composition of Team USA's roster at those Olympics remains to be seen.