Saturday, August 4, 2012

US survives upset bid by Lithuania, wins 99-94

LONDON -- The U.S. men got their first real test in Olympic basketball today, surviving a determined Lithuanian bid at an upset with a 99-94 win.

Lithuania shot the ball beautifully -- 58.5 percent -- and dissected the American defense repeatedly for layups. Former Duke player Martynas Pocius was one of the stars.

LeBron James took the game into his own hands late, however, scoring almost all of the American points in a critical late stretch, including a three-pointer, a dunk and a spinning left-handed layup.

U.S. Olympic coach Mike Krzyzewski said he thought his team could play better both offensively and defensively, but that a close game and a positive result could pay dividents.

Said Coach K: "We can be more ready to play than we were. But overall it was a really good game for us. Winning like we did was terrific… Every one of my guys wanted the ball and then they produced when they got it. So that was a cool thing, a good thing."

The surprising thing, besides the score, is that Lithuania hasn't been that good in the tournament. The team had already been beaten by both France and Argentina and now is 1-3. This will make the U.S. game against Argentina more interesting Monday. Following that game, win or lose, the U.S. moves to the knockout round starting Wednesday.

This game did show that what Mike Krzyzewski said before the tournament began is true. The U.S. can be beaten.

The Americans shot poorly from three-point range and their pick-and-roll defense was suspect, and that is the sort of thing that can almost get you beaten even when you're playing a team that doesn't come close to you in sheer athleticism.

James had 20 points for the U.S., shooting 9-for-14 and "refusing to give the ball up" at the end, as Coach K noted. "He took the game over," Krzyzewski said.

Carmelo Anthony also had 20 for the U.S. and Kevin Durant had 16. Linas Kleiza was very effective inside for Lithuania, scoring 25.

9 comments:

J said...

I wonder if this will convince Kobe to shut his pie hole and quit bloviating about this team being better than the Dream Team. Even if this team played like it did against Nigeria, the Dream Team would still win by 20.

Anonymous said...

Coach Klueless got out-coached!

Anonymous said...

i would love to see the arrogant US basketball team beaten. Arrogance has no place in sports. Confidence in your skills is fine, but it shouldn't shoot out of your mouth!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Like huckleberry hound williams is great. The last 2 times tar hole coaches (brown and karl) were involved with international basketball we know wht happened.

Anonymous said...

"Coach clueless"? It ultimately takes the players to play and in the end they did still win. So I would say Coach K did fine and was not out-coached.

I assume that remark came from a wannabe coach or a Tar Heel.

There is a lot of arrogance on the team as far as players but the coach can only do so much.

Anonymous said...

Cue the armchair coaches now.

Buckshot Jenkins said...

I guess I don't understand pulling against the US basketball team in the Olympics. If you don't like them then don't watch the game.

George Hansom said...

Carmelo's on the team, nuf said. Guy is a cancer,

Anonymous said...

Let's be totally honest here: UNCheat Nation, out of jealousy and exclusion, is praying Team USA loses. Sad and pathetic.

GO USA