Lithuania’s run at the FIBA World Cup ended this morning against the Dominican Republic, though their chances of advancing through the second group stage were killed on Saturday when they lost to France by three points. The nature of that loss was highly controversial.
Lithuania trailed by two points when Jonas Valanciunas drew a foul with 15 seconds left. He nailed the first free throw, and maybe would have made the game-tying shot, only Rudy Gobert got up and slapped the rim real hard. The ball jumped out of the cylinder and Nando De Colo made a game-sealing jumper. FIBA allows basket interference on balls above the cylinder, but only if the player doesn’t touch the rim first. Gobert clearly did, yet it went inexplicably uncalled.
FIBA also did not review the play, and Lithuania was dead. After the game, Lithuanian skipper Dainius Adomaitis went off.
Here’s a transcript:
“This is fucking joke. This is not basketball. This is not system. For what they have this VAR system? You don’t need to be smart, you need to be honest. Stop the game, go to watch what’s happened in the game. These guys, they spent all summer, two months without families. They receive zero dollars, Euros. Biggest respect for them. But somebody don’t respect this game. This is fucking [hits microphone while yelling]!”
FIBA agreed with the substance of Adomaitis’s rant about replay review enough to ban the game’s officiating crew from the rest of the tournament.