Our goodness, but is not the 2019 FIBA World Cup Basketball tournament a thriller?
After a dramatic loss to Australia, France sent the U.S. and its eclectic mix of NBA superstars to the exits with an 89 – 79 outcome over a U.S. squad that could never have been called the Dream Team, but more aptly, the Who Will Answer the Bell Team.
That stops a 58-game win streak for Team U.S.A. in international tournaments. The players who refused to play would have made a good squad, but playing in China would have put a dent in the time required to spend the millions they earn from their regular jobs.
France lists five NBA players as members of its squad. We know the Boomers have at least as many and there is little doubt that other countries could make the same claim to some degree, so anyone who thinks the FIBA World Cup is anything other than a NBA exhibition is guilty of misguided thinking.
Speaking of the Boomers, if our shaky segue can be excused; they beat the Czech Republic 82 – 70 to earn a spot in the semi-finals agasint Spain.
France and Argentina are the teams in the other semifinal.
Andrew Bogut, one of the few people in the world who can pull off the colour yellow, supplied 10 points. He is currently with the Sydney Kings, but is available for NBA duty should one of the clubs come calling.
The Boomers broke the backs of the Czechs with a 30 -18 outbreak in the third quarter, a period during which the Czechs did not bounce.
Australia are unbeaten, winners of six World Cup games in a row, although we have to take a bit of exception to those who made mention that the Boomers are guaranteed no worse than fourth place.
That sort of defeatist thinking has no place, other than, perhaps, to keep expectations in line.
The eliminated teams, Serbia, U.S.A., Czechs and Poland will play consolation games to determine places fifth through eighth, although it is hard to imagine that the U.S.A. players do not already have their bags packed and will be on the plane before changing out of their kits.