The U.S. men’s basketball team lost for the second straight day at the FIBA World Cup, ensuring its worst-ever major international tournament result. It will be seventh or eighth place.
The Americans, whose 58-game, 13-year tournament win streak with NBA players was snapped by France on Wednesday, suffered another defeat in a consolation-round game Thursday in China.
Serbia dumped the U.S. 94-89 in a rematch of the Rio Olympic final. Serbia led 32-7 after the first quarter. A full box score is here.
Serbia advances to a fifth-place game on Saturday. The U.S. plays for seventh place on Saturday.
“There’s no regrets from our group in terms of what we’ve given, what we’ve sacrificed, the commitment everyone has made,” said Harrison Barnes, the lone player on the U.S. team with Olympic experience. “For some of us, potentially all of us, it could be the last time we wear a USA jersey.”
The U.S. earned medals at all 18 Olympics it entered, including 15 golds. At worlds, the U.S. earned medals all but three times. Its worst previous finish was sixth in 2002, when it hosted in Indianapolis.
The U.S. qualified for the Olympics this week, before suffering its losses to France and Serbia. The Tokyo 2020 team should look very different from this World Cup team, save new head coach Gregg Popovich returning.
The U.S. roster at the World Cup includes two 2019 NBA All-Stars, Kemba Walker and Khris Middleton. It is typical for World Cup rosters to be less star-studded than for the Olympics.
Given how respected Popovich is, expect superstars to sign up for next summer. Perhaps LeBron James and Stephen Curry, who were among the big names to withdraw from Rio Olympic consideration in Mike Krzyzewski‘s third and final Olympics at the helm.
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