Spain hits a snag on road to USA showdown
That USA-Spain gold medal game everyone assumed would cap off the FIBA World Cup? Well, it won't happen.
Spain was upset by France 65-52 in Wednesday's quarterfinal round. With the host team eliminated from medal contention, the final four is set: USA vs. Lithuania on Thursday and France vs. Serbia on Friday.
Defense carried France to the surprising victory, outscoring Spain 23-9 in the fourth quarter. Boris Diaw led France with 15 points, followed by guard Thomas Heurtel with 13. France does not have Tony Parker or Joakim Noah at this tournament, but still has a fair amount of NBA talent with Portland's Nicholas Batum, Denver guard Evan Fournier, Utah center Rudy Gobert and ex-NBA forward Mickael Gelabale.
Pau Gasol played well for Spain, with 17 points, 8 rebounds and 3 blocks. But Marc Gasol, Ricky Rubio and Serge Ibaka combined to shoot 3 for 21 from the field.
Many observers thought Spain was a clear favorite to beat the US in the title game, since it had home-court advantage and much more experience playing together than the American roster.
Derrick Rose and Team USA shouldn't expect an easy finish. Lithuania probably isn't as loaded as it's been in the past, but has two NBA big men in Toronto's Jonas Valanciunas and Houston's Donatas Montiejunas.
The championship game is Sunday.