France eliminates Team USA despite Donovan Mitchell’s 29
Team USA was eliminated from the 2019 FIBA World Cup after an 89-79 quarterfinals loss to France, despite a scorching night from Donovan Mitchell, who scored 29 points in a losing effort. The loss snapped a USA Basketball 58-game win streak with NBA players in their roster.
The Americans can now finish as high as fifth through the consolation portion of the bracket, which would be the worst standing in international competition since a 2002 iteration of Team USA finished sixth while playing in home turf in Indiana.
The top-ranked team in the world trailed by six points at the half, but managed a surging third quarter thanks to Mitchell, who scored 14 of his 29 points in the period.
A stretch of four scoreless possessions in the middle of the fourth quarter allowed France to get back into the game, grabbing an 80-76 advantage with 2:52 left after a 9-0 run sealed by a Rudy Gobert dunk that forced a Gregg Popovich timeout.
The U.S. hit all 10 of their free throws in the first half, but struggled in the second, making only four of their last 11 tries from the charity stripe. The misses in the fourth quarter hurt the most, as Marcus Smart missed a pair that would have closed the deficit to two points and Kemba Walker made only 1-of-3 after being fouled by Rudy Gobert shooting a wing three.
The duo of Evan Fournier (22 points, three rebounds, four assists) and Rudy Gobert (21 points, 16 rebounds, three blocks) shined together against a discombobulated American team playing without Jayson Tatum, who sat out a fourth straight game with an ankle sprain.
Foul trouble by Myles Turner and Walker had the U.S. searching for answers throughout the game, something that greatly affected their overall depth and ultimately the result against a robust French squad.