For the first time since 2006, the USA won’t win Gold. And for the first time ever Australia’s Boomers have made it to through to the semi finals.
Perhaps what this shows is two things. First the NBA fiercely protects its players. Of the 35 players selected last year for the Team America squad only 4 ended up playing.
The second factor is that the sport is becoming truly global. Based on their talent, it could well be the Boomers will be a force to be reckoned with. Yes we can dream. The Boomers meet its nemesis Spain. Spain denied the Boomers a Bronze Medal in Rio De Janero at the last Olympics. Game Time 6pm Friday 13th.
Read about it all here…
USA knocked out of FIBA basketball World Cup, Australia advances to semi-finals for first time
The Boomers have flown into the semi-finals of the FIBA basketball World Cup, but the favourites and reigning champion US team are out after suffering a shock defeat to France.
French star Evan Fournier scored 22 points and Rudy Gobert had 21 points with 16 rebounds as France beat the US 89-79, rallying from a seven-point, fourth-quarter deficit to pull off the upset.
For the first time since 2006, the US sent NBA players to a major international tournament and won’t win gold.
This is the first time the US will not win a medal at the World Cup since being stunned on home soil in 2002.
“[We’ve] just got to take it like a man at this point,” US guard Kemba Walker said.
“We lost. There’s nothing we can do. We competed. We’ve been competing since day one that we got to training camp. But we gave it everything we’ve got.
“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.”
The US team was heavily undermanned heading into the tournament, with CJ McCollum — a player who was initially selected but later withdrew from the squad — saying that a fear of failure could have been to blame.
‘What did you expect?’
Many pundits in the US were writing Team USA off before they even arrived in China.
Suffering a first-ever defeat to the Boomers in Melbourne before the World Cup just added fuel to the fire as journalists said the early exit came as no surprise.
“What’d you expect? I mean you rolled out your C team,” Former NBA star Raja Bell said.
“I’m not surprised that they ended up getting beat by someone because while they’re good players, they’re not the best that we have to offer.”
The US team had several high-profile players pull out of the squad in the early stages of training, with the AP reporting that of the 35 players originally picked last year, just four made it to China.
That led some US-based journalists to question the selection process.
“[It] doesn’t matter who is on the team, and I couldn’t be more proud of these 12 guys who sacrificed their summer to come here, having never played with each other before,” US coach Gregg Popovich said.
“They put themselves in the arena and competed, and they deserve credit for that, just like France deserves credit for winning. It’s not about, ‘Well, the United States didn’t have their other guys’.
“There’s no such thing as other guys. These are the guys that were here, and they did a great job, and I’m very proud of them.”
The US had won 58 consecutive tournament games in FIBA and Olympic competition, starting with the bronze-medal game at the 2006 World Championships and continuing through every FIBA Americas, World Cup and Olympics event since.
It was bidding to become the first nation to win three consecutive World Cups, after winning three straight Olympic golds in that span but will now focus on the Olympics in Japan next year.
“Any loss hurts,” Popovich said.
“And in this situation, it hurts more.
“But life goes on. This is very important and we would have loved to have won … but we’re all grown, we all have families and lives and life goes on.”
Boomers qualify for World Cup semis
The Aussie Boomers have qualified for the Basketball World Cup semi-finals for the first time, after defeating Czech Republic 82-70 in China.
The Boomers, who had never gone beyond the quarter-finals in 11 previous appearances, defeated the tournament debutants on Wednesday night, and will meet Spain on Friday.
It was Spain who broke Australian hearts at the last Olympics by denying the Boomers a first ever medal in global competition by prevailing in the bronze medal match.
Meanwhile, France has upset the United States after winning 89-79 and will also advance to the semi-finals where they will take on Argentina.
This was Australia’s sixth straight win in China, and in doing so, they avoided becoming the latest surprise casualty at this unpredictable World Cup.
“They caused us to be a little anxious early,” Boomers coach Andrej Lemanis said.
“It took a while to find our rhythm offensively but once we did I thought we did a nice job.”
San Antonio Spurs’ Patty Mills was again the standout, leading the scoring with 24 points.
The 31-year-old guard also had six assists and four rebounds.
Argentina stunned favourites Serbia on Tuesday while reigning two-time champions the United States were dumped out by France on Wednesday.
Australia were heavy favourites in Shanghai against the Czechs, who bravely hung on until midway through the third quarter, when the Boomers cranked up the pressure.
Australia had survived the World Cup “Group of Death” also including Canada, Senegal and Lithuania, before beating the Dominican Republic and then fellow semi-finalists France in a thriller.
Veteran Australian Andrew Bogut was again loudly booed throughout by fans in Shanghai upset with a tweet he wrote in July about Chinese swimming star Sun Yang.
He goaded the crowd afterwards with a dance as he came off the court.
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