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Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry lead updated USA Basketball finalists for World Cup

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Kemba WalkerKyle Lowry and Khris Middleton are the lone remaining 2019 NBA All-Stars among U.S. candidates for next month’s FIBA World Cup, the first opportunity for nations to qualify for the Tokyo Olympics.

Half of the original 20 players named to next week’s camp in Las Vegas, used to determine the 12-man World Cup roster, withdrew since June 10. That included the headliners James HardenDamian Lillard and Anthony Davis, with Harden and Lillard reportedly opting out to focus on the NBA season.

Lowry and Harrison Barnes are the two players of the revised 15 finalists with Olympic experience.

The final roster will be named Aug. 17 for September’s FIBA World Cup in China. The U.S. will qualify for the Tokyo Games if it is one of the top two teams from the Americas at worlds. There is also a last-chance qualifying tournament next year.

The original 20 players going to camp:

Harrison Barnes, Sacramento Kings*
Bradley Beal, Washington Wizards
Anthony Davis, New Orleans Pelicans**
Andre Drummond, Detroit Pistons
Eric Gordon, Houston Rockets
James Harden, Houston Rockets**
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
Damian Lillard, Portland Trail Blazers
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
Kevin Love, Cleveland Cavaliers**
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors*
C.J. McCollum, Portland Trail Blazers
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Paul Millsap, Denver Nuggets
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Kemba Walker, Charlotte Hornets

The revised 15 players going to camp:

Bam Adebayo, Miami Heat
Harrison Barnes
, Sacramento Kings*
Jaylen Brown, Boston Celtics
Kyle Kuzma, Los Angeles Lakers
Brook Lopez, Milwaukee Bucks
Kyle Lowry, Toronto Raptors*
Khris Middleton, Milwaukee Bucks
Donovan Mitchell, Utah Jazz
Mason Plumlee, Denver Nuggets
Marcus Smart, Boston Celtics
Jayson Tatum, Boston Celtics
P.J. Tucker, Houston Rockets
Myles Turner, Indiana Pacers
Kemba Walker, Boston Celtics
Thaddeus Young, Chicago Bulls

*2016 Olympian
**2012 Olympian

San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich will make his U.S. head coaching debut at the World Cup, succeeding Mike Krzyzewski, who led the Americans to Olympic titles in 2008, 2012 and 2016.

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

MORE: How U.S. Olympic 3×3 teams will be chosen

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Pau Gasol carries Spain to Olympics; France to last-chance qualifier

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Pau Gasol scored 40 points as Spain outlasted host France 80-75 in overtime to qualify for the Rio Olympics in a EuroBasket semifinal on Thursday.

Gasol carried Spain, winner of the last two Olympic silver medals, in the knockout rounds of EuroBasket — scoring 30, 27 and 40 points in the last three games to book the nation’s fifth straight Olympic men’s basketball berth.

No other Spaniard scored more than 18 in any of those games, all close at various points of the fourth quarter and, in the case of France, overtime. Watch Gasol’s highlights against France here.

Spain needed Gasol given other NBA stars sat out EuroBasket for various reasons, including Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio and Jose Calderon.

The EuroBasket finalists qualify for Rio. The second EuroBasket semifinal, between Serbia and Lithuania, is Friday in Lille.

The EuroBasket semifinal losers (plus the fifth- through seventh-place teams) advance to global, last-chance qualifying tournaments in July.

On Thursday, Spain became the seventh nation to qualify for the 12-team Rio Olympic men’s basketball tournament. The field is as follows:

Brazil — Host nation
U.S. — 2014 World champion
Australia — Oceania champion
Nigeria — Africa champion
Argentina — Americas finalist
Venezuela — Americas finalist
Spain — Europe finalist
Lithuania or Serbia — Europe finalist
Asian champion
Three winners of three July global, last-chance qualifying tournaments

France, which also lost to Spain in the London 2012 quarterfinals, will likely be favored at its six-team, global, last-chance qualifying tournament in July. The other teams at its specific tournament haven’t been named yet, but they will of course not include any of the teams qualified for Rio.

France’s team at EuroBasket included six NBA players to Spain’s two — including Tony Parker, Nicolas Batum, Boris Diaw and Rudy Gobert.

The other top teams among those three last-chance tournaments will include Canada and may include Olympic bronze medalist Russia and Germany, which, with Dirk Nowitzki, nearly knocked out Spain in the EuroBasket group stage.

MORE BASKETBALL: Lithuania, Serbia meet for another Olympic berth

Spain, France to meet in EuroBasket with Rio spot at stake

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Either Spain or France must wait until one month before the Olympics to learn if it will qualify for Rio in men’s basketball.

The European stalwarts, which combined to win three of the last four Olympic silver medals, meet in the EuroBasket semifinals Thursday with an Olympic berth at stake.

EuroBasket acts as an Olympic qualifying tournament with the finalists receiving Rio spots. Teams that finish third through seventh advance to one of the global, last-chance qualifying tournaments in July.

Spain was nearly knocked out in the EuroBasket group stage last Thursday, beating Germany 77-76 after Atlanta Hawks guard Dennis Schroeder missed a game-tying free throw attempt with three seconds left.

In the round of 16, Spain was tied with Poland after three quarters before a 25-11 fourth-quarter run.

And in Tuesday’s quarterfinals, Spain trailed Greece in the fourth before emerging with a 73-71 victory.

This Spain team is not reminiscent of the roster that reached the last two Olympic finals. It lacks NBA players Marc Gasol, Serge Ibaka, Ricky Rubio and Jose Calderon and has leaned heavily on Pau Gasol.

Pau Gasol, 35, made six of seven three-pointers against Poland and scored a game-high 27 points against Greece.

France’s roster includes more NBA players than Spain’s — six, including Olympians Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum. France and Serbia, a nation in the other bracket half, are the remaining undefeated teams at EuroBasket.

Spain beat France in the 2012 Olympic quarterfinals.

France, then without Parker, beat Spain, then with both Gasol brothers, Ibaka, Rubio and Calderon, in the 2014 FIBA World Cup quarterfinals.

France beat Latvia 84-70 in the quarterfinals Tuesday.

MORE BASKETBALL: Canada’s Olympic basketball return on hold after shock loss