Team USA Loses for the First Time in 58 Competitive Games as France Ends FIBA World Cup Dream—Twitter Isn't Surprised

Team USA's bid for a third consecutive FIBA World Cup is over after it suffered a surprise defeat against France in the quarterfinals on Wednesday.

The Americans arrived into the knockout stages with a perfect 5-0 record but came unstuck against the Les Bleus, losing 89-79 in Dongguan.

The defeat halted Team USA's 58-game winning run in competitive matches with NBA players on the roster, which stretched all the way back to 2006.

Back then, Team USA lost to Greece in what was then known as the FIBA World Championship, before winning the third-place playoff game against Argentina.

A roster that lacked the star power of previous iterations of Team USA has been the talking point throughout the tournament.

James Harden, Anthony Davis, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, CJ McCollum and Bradley Beal all withdrew earlier this month, and Kyle Kuzma was ruled with an ankle injury just before the start of the World Cup.

At the 2016 Olympics, Team USA had five All-Star guards on its roster, in the shape of Kyrie Irving, Klay Thompson, DeMar DeRozan and Jimmy Butler.

This year, in comparison, Kemba Walker was the only All-Star guard on the roster.

Unsurprisingly, the lack of options at Gregg Popovich's disposal was a hot topic on social media as the American media and public digested a rare defeat.

We knew this U.S. team was short on firepower. We maybe didn’t know they were “five points in the final seven minutes” short.

— Dan Devine (@YourManDevine) September 11, 2019

Answer: Step 4

— Rodger Sherman (@rodger) September 11, 2019

USA v Serbia is going to happen ... but in the fifth-place bracket. FRANCE has stunned the Americans, 89-79, in the @FIBAWC quarterfinals

— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) September 11, 2019

NBA fans watching Team USA lose with four Celtics on the roster

— Complex Sports (@ComplexSports) September 11, 2019

Not sure where USA Basketball goes from here. Got completely outplayed by a better team today. Just not clear if there's enough interest in the FIBA game here to get the biggest stars to play and make up for downsides. Obviously roster construction and buildup has to be better.

— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) September 11, 2019

Team USA loss to France was not a disgrace or an embarrassment or anything else you might hear today or for however long folks want to talk about it. Americans lost to a better team & got outplayed (not outworked) in the 4thQ. Don’t send our best or 2nd best, this is what you get

— Michael Lee (@MrMichaelLee) September 11, 2019

Team USA after losing to France on 9/11

— Josiah Johnson (@KingJosiah54) September 11, 2019

Before today, Team USA had won 58 straight games in international tournaments with NBA players on the roster.

The loss to France is the first since losing to Greece in 2006.

— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) September 11, 2019

France trailed Team USA by seven points when Ntilikina checked back in the game with 8:11 left in the fourth quarter.

France outscored USA by 17 points over the final 8 mins.

Ntilikina (7 pts) outscored Kemba and Donvovan Mitchell combined in 4th

— Tommy Beer (@TommyBeer) September 11, 2019

On Wednesday, the two-time defending champions trailed by six points at the halfway mark, the first time the U.S. had trailed at halftime in the tournament.

Popovich's team roared back in the third quarter thanks to Donovan Mitchell's 14 points and entered the final period with a slender three-point lead.

That, however, was as good as it got for the Americans, who scored 13 points to France's 27 in the final quarter.

Les Bleus trailed by three points with just over five minutes left before going on an 11-0 run late in the fourth quarter to take an 82-76 lead.

The scoring burst proved decisive as the defending champions racked up a meager five points in the final seven minutes, with Marcus Smart and Walker both missing two free throws each in the closing stages.

Kemba Walker, Team USA
#15 Kemba Walker and #4 Derrick White of USA show their dejection after the quarter-final of 2019 FIBA World Cup between USA and France at Dongguan Basketball Center on September 11, 2019 in Dongguan, China. Zhizhao Wu/Getty

Smart finished with 11 points, while Walker had 10 points and four assists. The only other Team USA player in double figures was Mitchell, who top-scored with 29 points, adding six rebounds and four assists.

Evan Fournier led France with 22 points, Utah Jazz star Rudy Gobert finished with 21 points and 16 rebounds and Nando DeColo added 18 points.

The loss will not affect Team USA's chances of reaching the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo next summer, as they had already qualified for the competition by reaching the knockout stage of the World Cup.

France, meanwhile, will play Argentina in the semifinals on Friday looking to reach a World Cup final for the first time in its history after finishing third five years ago.
Argentina produced one of the shocks of the tournament on Tuesday, when it knocked out Serbia in the quarter-finals with an impressive 97-87 win.

In the other semifinal, Spain will play the winner of the last quarterfinal, which pits Australia against the Czech Republic.

La Roja, one of the bookmakers' favorite ahead of the tournament along with Team USA and Serbia, beat Poland 90-78 on Tuesday.