The U.S. had won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competitions, starting with the bronze-medal game at the 2006 world championships before the 89-79 loss to France in the World Cup quarterfinals.
Curiously, Mitchell only got three shots up in the final carom despite the fact that he was rolling, which has got to be considered a failure on the part of Team USA. Spain and France are assured of being the top two World Cup finishers from Europe, earning them automatic spots into the field for the 2020 Tokyo Games.
Donovan Mitchell led Team USA with 29 points. Perhaps a more formidable United States of America squad could attack Gobert and the French defense, especially one armed with either elite isolation scorers (hello, James Harden) or athletic marvels like Anthony Davis.
"Any loss hurts, and in this situation it hurts more", Team USA coach Gregg Popovich said of not medaling. On offense, he dominated against Team USA's small lineups. The 6-foot-6 combo guard scored 11 points, including.
Shenanigans in the press and the revenge factor aside, though, Gobert was clearly the best player on the floor in this contest.
Both teams gave up leads in the second half.
The last time the Americans lost in global tournament play was in 2006, when the U.S. fell to Greece in the semifinals of the FIBA World Championship. Facing an elite French defense, an audible was desperately needed.
France will play next on Friday against Argentina, who advanced by defeating Serbia on Tuesday night. Worldwide competition, and coming up shy of a gold medal, is sure to motivate White even more.
We shouldn't hit the panic button over the state of U.S. basketball following Wednesday's loss.
But the best the Americans can do now in China is finish fifth. "I know we're Team USA and things of that nature and they've been winning for a lot of years, but you know, we didn't get a chance to pull it off".
But Wednesday's loss should still leave a bitter taste in the mouths of American basketball fans. The global basketball community is on the rise.
Even though Team USA lost, with a roster that was young and mostly substandard when compared to rosters of the past, Mitchell, who may not have made that final roster had so many NBA All-Stars availed themselves for it, now has put himself in a position to make next year's U.S. Olympic team, regardless of who joins that cause.