Frank Ntilikina
Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images

Frank Ntilikina and the French national team suffered their first loss of the FIBA World Cup and a date with Team USA is set.

  • France 98 (4-1, 9 points)
  • Australia 100 (5-0, 8 points)
  • FIBA World Cup, Final, Box Score
  • Nanjing, China

France has fallen for the first time in the 2019 FIBA World Cup. The undefeated Australians took down Les Bleus in an instant classic that finished with heroics from Patty Mills.

New York Knicks guard Frank Ntilikina started the game like a house on fire but wasn’t on the floor in crunch time. Ntilikina finished with seven points, five rebounds, two assists, and one steal. All seven of Ntilikina’s points came in the first quarter as the Knicks guard looked poised for a high-scoring game.

Despite Ntilikina’s hot start, France head coach Vincent Collet opted to go with more experienced players with the game on the line.

The typically stifling French defense had trouble stopping any of the Boomers on Monday. Joe Ingles, Aron Baynes, and Patty Mills all scored upwards of 20 points. Mills led the way with 30 points, but Baynes’ five three-pointers completely opened up the game for the Aussies.

Mills was a stud on offense. However, his finest moment came on the defensive end when he picked off an inbounds pass to seal the game for the Aussies.

Unfortunately, Andrew Albicy, who was on the floor in place of Ntilikina. The gaffe overshadowed a solid performance for Albicy.

Evan Fournier kept France out in front for most of the game with 31 points. Super-sub Nando De Colo poured in 26 points off the bench.

Despite the productive nights from Fournier and De Colo, the French couldn’t stave off a late push from the Boomers. The Albicy turnover will be the moment that fans remember from this game, but Rudy Golbert fouling out with 29 seconds left was a killer as well.

Despite the loss, France is still moving onto the quarterfinals. Les Bleus will face off against Team USA on Wednesday at 7 a.m. ET.

Although Team USA will enter Wednesday’s game as the favorites, France won’t be a pushover. The duo of Gobert and Fournier have been tough to stop and that shouldn’t change against the Americans.

France’s depth will be tested and a big game for Ntilikina could go a long way towards securing a win and a place in the semifinals.

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