U.S. men’s basketball team loses to Australia, snaps 78-game win streak

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The U.S. men’s basketball team’s 98-94 exhibition loss to Australia on Saturday snapped a 78-game win streak in major international tournaments and exhibitions, a first defeat for a roster of NBA players since the 2006 FIBA World Championship.

The U.S. led by as much as 10 in the third quarter before an Australian team sparked by San Antonio Spurs guard Patty Mills rallied in Melbourne for an eye-opening result one week before the FIBA World Cup starts.

A full box score is here. After the game, the U.S. roster for the World Cup was announced.

The U.S. is still favored to win the World Cup, where the top two teams from North and South America will qualify for the 2020 Olympics in the first of multiple chances to grab a Tokyo Games spot. But, with a roster missing NBA superstars like LeBron James and Stephen Curry, there is a much smaller margin of error for new coach Gregg Popovich.

“Nobody wins forever,” Popovich said, according to USA Basketball. “The Aussies gave us a great lesson as far as where we have to be and how we have to play in this kind of competition.”

The 13 finalists for the 12-man World Cup roster include one Olympian (Harrison Barnes) and two 2019 NBA All-Stars (captain Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton)

“They say Team USA doesn’t lose. I get it. They haven’t lost in a very long time, which I understand, but it happens,” Walker said. “These guys [Australia] have been playing with each other for a very long time. Us? We’re just kind of beginning.”

It has become custom for the World Cup team to include few Olympians. The 2014 roster included two players from the London Olympics (Anthony Davis, James Harden). The 2010 World Cup team had zero Beijing Olympians.

Many notables dropped out of roster consideration before or during this month’s training camp and practices: including Olympians Davis, Harden, Kevin Love and Kyle Lowry. James, Curry and others withdrew before the camp roster was named, some citing a need for offseason rest.

The last string of defeats in 2004 and 2006, the most recent loss being the 2006 Worlds semifinals to Greece, spurred the Redeem Team, an effort by NBA superstars to show up for the 2008 Olympics after previous teams lacked some of the top players. Under coach Mike Krzyzewski, the U.S. won three straight Olympic titles and back-to-back world titles.

During the 78-game win streak with NBA players, the U.S. has lost games with rosters including non-NBA players, notably at recent Pan American Games and in FIBA World Cup qualifying. And this U.S. team of NBAers lost at least one training camp scrimmage against a group including G-League players last week.

Australia had never beaten the U.S. in more than 20 games at the top senior level.

“Some of it is expected, with a new group that’s trying to learn about each other and learn the system, so it’s not surprising,” said Popovich, who is going into his first tournament since succeeding Krzyzewski. “The Aussies give us a great lesson as far as where we want to be and how you have to play in this kind of a competition.”

MORE: Carmelo Anthony’s request denied to return to USA Basketball

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2023 French Open men’s singles draw

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The French Open men’s singles draw is missing injured 14-time champion Rafael Nadal for the first time since 2004, leaving the Coupe des Mousquetaires ripe for the taking.

The tournament airs live on NBC Sports, Peacock and Tennis Channel through championship points in Paris.

Novak Djokovic is not only bidding for a third crown at Roland Garros, but also to lift a 23rd Grand Slam singles trophy to break his tie with Nadal for the most in men’s history.

FRENCH OPEN: Broadcast Schedule | Women’s Draw

But the No. 1 seed is Spaniard Carlos Alcaraz, who won last year’s U.S. Open to become, at 19, the youngest man to win a major since Nadal’s first French Open title in 2005.

Now Alcaraz looks to become the second-youngest man to win at Roland Garros since 1989, after Nadal of course.

Alcaraz missed the Australian Open in January due to a right leg injury, but since went 30-3 with four titles. Notably, he has not faced Djokovic this year. They meet in Friday’s semifinals.

Russian Daniil Medvedev, the No. 2 seed, was upset in the first round by 172nd-ranked Brazilian qualifier Thiago Seyboth Wild. It marked the first time a men’s top-two seed lost in the first round of any major since 2003 Wimbledon (Ivo Karlovic d. Lleyton Hewitt).

All of the American men lost before the fourth round. The last U.S. man to make the French Open quarterfinals was Andre Agassi in 2003.

MORE: All you need to know for 2023 French Open

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2023 French Open Men’s Singles Draw

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IOC board recommends withdrawing International Boxing Association’s recognition

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The IOC finally ran out of patience with the International Boxing Federation on Wednesday and set a date to terminate its Olympic status this month.

While boxing will still be on the program at the 2024 Paris Games, the International Olympic Committee said its executive board has asked the full membership to withdraw its recognition of the IBA at a special meeting on June 22.

IOC members rarely vote against recommendations from their 15-member board and the IBA’s ouster is likely a formality.

The IOC had already suspended the IBA’s recognition in 2019 over long-standing financial, sports integrity and governance issues. The Olympic body oversaw the boxing competitions itself at the Tokyo Olympics held in 2021 and will do so again for Paris.

An IOC statement said the boxing body “has failed to fulfil the conditions set by the IOC … for lifting the suspension of the IBA’s recognition.”

The IBA criticized what it called a “truly abhorrent and purely political” decision by the IOC and warned of “retaliatory measures.”

“Now, we are left with no chance but to demand a fair assessment from a competent court,” the boxing body’s Russian president Umar Kremlev said in a statement.

The IOC-IBA standoff has also put boxing’s place at the 2028 Los Angeles Games at risk, though that should now be resolved.

The IOC previously stressed it has no problem with the sport or its athletes — just the IBA and its current president Kremlev, plus financial dependence on Russian state energy firm Gazprom.

In a 24-page report on IBA issues published Wednesday, the IOC concluded “the accumulation of all of these points, and the constant lack of drastic evolution throughout the many years, creates a situation of no-return.”

Olympic boxing’s reputation has been in question for decades. Tensions heightened after boxing officials worldwide ousted long-time IOC member C.K. Wu as their president in 2017 when the organization was known by its French acronym AIBA.

“From a disreputable organization named AIBA governed by someone from the IOC’s upper echelon, we committed to and executed a change in the toxic and corrupt culture that was allowed to fester under the IOC for far too long,” Kremlev said Wednesday in a statement.

National federations then defied IOC warnings in 2018 by electing as their president Gafur Rakhimov, a businessman from Uzbekistan with alleged ties to organized crime and heroin trafficking.

Kremlev’s election to replace Rakhimov in 2020 followed another round of IOC warnings that went unheeded.

Amid the IBA turmoil, a rival organization called World Boxing has attracted initial support from officials in the United States, Switzerland and Britain.

The IBA can still continue to organize its own events and held the men’s world championships last month in the Uzbek capital Tashkent.

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