FIBA Worlds: Zut Alors! France Upsets Host Spain
A novel concept found its way into the French national team after Spain had destroyed them in group play.
L'équipe de défense.
Getting smoked by 24 points can turn the smokees into good listeners.
Les bleu bought into putting the clamps on Spain's pick-&-roll, got strong production up front, and France fashioned a significant and sound 65-52 quarter-final upset of the host country in FIBA's World Cup.
So much for the so-called dream match between the USA and Spain. The Americans coasted past Slovenia, 119-76, and those highlights are a click away immediately after the France-Spain clip:
It's unfortunate offense is the usual feature in highlight packages. The French guards gave zero space, and the combination of Joffrey Lauvergne and the Utah Jazz's Rudy Gobert shut down Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka to the tune of 2-14 from the field for a total of five points. Only Pau Gasol produced, totalling 17 points and 8 rebounds. If not for him, the game would've been a rout.
Meanwhile, France had its way with the inside game:
- Boris Diaw put away 15 points and collected 5 rebounds and 3 assists;
- Thomas Huertel contributed 13 points, 4 assists, and 3 rebounds, and
- Gobert added 5 points and 13 rebounds to accompany his sterling defensive effort.
Here's the bracket for the tournament's home stretch:
Lithuania would need to play their game of the decade to prevail over the USA.
Serbia matches up well with France and will be catching them in the afterglow. That will be where the remaining drama in this event lies, as both will be supremely challenged to stay close to the Americans.
But two of the USA's three possible opponents now have their eyes on a medal. Given the obvious, that's achievement enough.