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France, Frank Ntilikina cruise past Dominican Republic to win Group G (Highlights)

Frank Ntilikina did not put his best foot forward on Thursday but he didn’t slow down France’s all-out assault of the Dominican Republic.

  • France 90 (3-0, 6 points)
  • Dominican Republic 56 (2-1, 5 points)
  • FIBA World Cup, Final, Box Score
  • Shenzen, China

France is going to be a problem in the later stages of the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Their clean sweep of Group G was capped with a 34-point win over the Dominican Republic on Thursday. Head coach Vincent Collet must be thrilled with how the first round of group play finished.

New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina earned his second-straight start, but struggled through a turnover-filled first half. As a result, Andrew Albicy started the second half at point guard in place of Ntilikina.

However, the 21-year-old bounced back with a strong second half, knocking down a couple of threes and dishing out some beautiful assists.

He finished the night with eight points, two rebounds, four assists, and two steals. He had three early turnovers but took much better care of the ball in the second half.

Despite Ntilikina’s up-and-down performance, this was France’s most complete game as a team. Nando De Colo and Rudy Gobert led the way for France with 15 and 13 points, respectively. But six different Frenchman scored at least eight points and France’s depth was on full display in this contest.

Mathias Lessort had his best game of the tournament. He came off the bench to score 11 points and scoop up four rebounds. His athleticism and energy really opened up the game for France.

This win over the Dominican Republic shows that France is not messing around. They have depth at every position with stars who can take over games in Gobert and Evan Fournier. A capable second unit, led by De Colo, could position France for a deep run into the medal rounds.

The blowout in game two was expected because Jordan is one of the weaker teams at the World Cup. But the Dominican Republic is ranked 18th in the FIBA world rankings. A 34-point blowout is a positive sign moving forward.

The points from Group G will carry over to the next stage of group play. France and Australia are both atop Group L with six points apiece, but Lithuania and DR are close behind with five.

The big game for France will come on Saturday against Lithuania. A win would all but assure Collet’s squad a berth in the quarterfinals.

But for France, a win against both Lithuania and Australia would mean they can likely avoid facing Team USA in a quarterfinal game. If both France and USA win their groups, they would wind up on opposite sides of the bracket with a potential championship matchup on the horizon.

NY/NJ hoops reporter (NBA/NCAA) & sports betting writer for XL Media. Never had the makings of a varsity athlete.