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France end Team USA’s 25-match Olympic basketball winning streak

France have stunned Team USA in their opening match of the Olympic basketball tournament in Tokyo, ending the USA’s 25-match winning streak at the Olympics with an 83-76 victory.

The US had won 25 consecutive Olympic matches, last losing at the Athens Games 17 years ago when they settled for a bronze medal.

French NBA star Evan Fournier hit the match-defining bucket when he nailed a three-pointer to put his team ahead 76-74 with under a minute remaining.

It was a lead they would hold onto, with America’s cavalcade of stars all going cold from the free throw line and the field with the game on the line.

Prior to Fournier’s three-pointer, Team USA centre Bam Adebayo missed a pair of free throws, before Rudy Gobert hit one of two from the free throw line for France, meaning they had cut the USA lead to one.

Gobert then missed a lay-up before a mad scramble saw Guerschin Yabusele save the ball and pass to the open Fournier, who knocked down his shot.

USA then had four open looks at the other end, with Kevin Durant missing two attempts at a three, Adebayo missing a putback at the rim and Jrue Holiday seeing a three-point shot go in and out.

Nando de Colo then made a pair of free throws to extend the French lead to four.

And when Damian Lillard slipped and lost the ball in the dying stages, Fournier picked it up only to have been ruled to have been tripped by Lillard, and a clear path foul given.

Fournier split the pair for a game-high 28 points but the nail was in the US coffin at 79-74 with 17 seconds on the clock, with the teams trading fouls and free throws down the stretch.

Evan Fournier scored a game-high 28 points for France.(

Eric Gay/Getty Images

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Costly for Team USA was a third quarter where they were stifled by the French defence and only managed 11 points as France piled on 25 to turn what was an eight-point deficit at half-time into a six-point three-quarter-time lead.

De Colo chipped in 13 points for France and Gobert had 14 and nine rebounds.

Team USA were led by Holiday who, fresh off Milwaukee’s NBA Championship, had 18 points off the bench and had sparked Team USA early in the fourth quarter, in what was a poor shooting night for the gold medal favourites where none of their biggest stars, namely Durant, Lillard, Devin Booker or Zach LaVine made an impact offensively.

The result leaves Team USA — who were knocked out of the basketball World Cup two years ago by France — languishing in their pool with the Czech Republic and Iran.

Their loss also comes off the back of an exhibition loss to Australia in their last game before the Olympics.


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