The ultimate buzzer sounded and France barely celebrated.
To them, beating america once more wasn’t actually a shock. And that could be the largest indicator but that the Individuals — even after three consecutive Olympic gold medals — are not feared by different prime worldwide groups.
A 25-game Olympic successful streak for the U.S. is over, ending Sunday when France closed the sport on a 16-2 run to beat the Individuals 83-76 within the Tokyo Video games. Evan Fournier’s 3-pointer off a damaged play with slightly below a minute left put France forward for good, because the Individuals merely fell aside within the last minutes.
“They’re higher individually,” Fournier mentioned of the Individuals, “however they are often overwhelmed as a workforce.”
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That is been confirmed with alarming regularity within the final two years. Beginning with France’s win over the U.S. within the Basketball World Cup quarterfinals at China two years in the past, the Individuals are merely 3-5 of their final eight video games with NBA gamers within the lineup.
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The U.S. missed its last 9 pictures, 5 of them coming in a 21-second span within the last minute shortly after Fournier — who led all scorers with 28 factors — made the go-ahead 3-pointer. Rudy Gobert wildly missed a layup on that play, however Guerschon Yabusele chased down the bouncing rebound and simply earlier than he dove into the U.S. bench he made a desperation swipe on the ball in an effort to knock it into Fournier’s path.
Fournier turned Yabusele’s dive right into a dagger, and similar to that the Individuals are in Olympic bother.
“I feel that is a bit little bit of hubris in case you assume the Individuals are supposed to only roll out the balls and win,” U.S. coach Gregg Popovich mentioned. “We have started working for it similar to everyone else. And for these 40 minutes, they performed higher than we did.”
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The Individuals misplaced for less than the sixth time in 144 video games on the Olympics all-time, and fell to 53-4 within the Olympics with NBA gamers on the roster. The 2004 workforce on the Athens Video games misplaced the opposite three, and received bronze. Each different U.S. workforce within the period that began with the “Dream Workforce” in 1992 received the gold and this one nonetheless can — however it’s removed from a certainty.
“While you lose a sport, you are not stunned,” Popovich mentioned. “You are disillusioned.”
Fournier had 28 factors for France, whereas Rudy Gobert scored 14 and Nando de Colo had 13. Jrue Vacation had 18 factors for the U.S., Bam Adebayo had 12, Damian Lillard 11 and Kevin Durant had 10 for the Individuals — who’re simply 2-3 of their video games this summer time, the primary 4 of them exhibitions in Las Vegas that weren’t speculated to imply a lot.
The Olympics, they had been speculated to be completely different.
They weren’t. They misplaced, once more.
“I imply, it is nice,” Gobert mentioned. “However till we have now what we wish to have round our neck it would not actually matter.”
The thought of anybody else leaving an Olympics with gold hasn’t been all that life like lately. Now, it is very actual.
A ten-point U.S. lead within the third quarter was wasted, and so was a 12-point barrage from Vacation within the opening 4 1/2 minutes of the fourth quarter because the Individuals went from six factors down to begin the interval to 6 factors up with 5:23 remaining.
The U.S. lead was seven with 3:30 left. France outscored the U.S. 16-2 from there, and the Individuals missed all 9 of their pictures — 5 of them in a 21-second span on the identical journey down the ground within the last minute, three of these from 3-point vary.
“Evan was wonderful,” France coach Vincent Collet mentioned. “I do not wish to use massive, massive, massive phrases, however he made some very massive pictures.”
The loss would not knock the U.S. out of medal rivalry, however it primarily eliminates the margin for error. The Individuals play Iran on Wednesday after which the Czech Republic on Saturday in its last two Group A video games; win each of these, and the U.S. shall be within the quarterfinals. Lose one other one, and the Individuals won’t even end within the prime eight of this 12-team event.
Foul bother for Durant
The Individuals scored three factors in a seven-minute span of the third, Durant picked up his fourth foul — the FIBA restrict is 5 with 16:45 left within the sport, and that once-comfortable lead was quickly gone. De Colo’s 3-pointer with 2:42 remaining within the third put France up 55-54, its first lead for the reason that sport’s first 4 minutes.
France led 62-56 going to the ultimate quarter. Vacation — who arrived in Tokyo on Saturday, lower than per week faraway from serving to Milwaukee win the NBA title — did all he might to will the U.S. to a win within the fourth, however merely did not get sufficient assist.
“He was excellent,” Popovich mentioned.
It was the primary time the U.S. and France performed for the reason that quarterfinals of the Basketball World Cup two years in the past, a sport that the Individuals misplaced on the best way to a seventh-place end — the worst ever by a USA Basketball workforce with NBA gamers.
The U.S. obtained outscored 22-5 within the last seven and-a-half minutes of that sport, shedding 89-79. This time, the ultimate run was 16-2 within the last 3:17 to lose by seven.
That loss in China ended World Cup medal hopes. This one would not finish the Individuals’ Olympic probabilities — however one other loss nearly actually will.
“We have now to defend higher down the stretch,” U.S. ahead Draymond Inexperienced mentioned. “And shut the video games out.”
In different Group A motion, the Czech Republic defeated Iran 84-78.
And, in Group B, Italy downed Germany 92-82, whereas Australia walloped Nigeria 84-67.