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Sunday, August 22nd, 2010 at 10:00 am  |  21 responses

Led By Kevin Durant, Team USA Defeats Lithuania

Via USA Basketball: “The 2010 USA Men’s World Championship Team overcame icy cold shooting in the first half, but never gave up and rebounded in the second half to earn a tough 77-61 victory over Lithuania on Saturday night inside the Magic Box in Madrid, Spain. Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) led all scorers on the night with 15 points, whileRudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) and Player of the GameRussell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) checked in for 14 and 12 points, respectively. … Three minutes into the third quarter Durant hit a turnaround jumper to give the American men their first lead of the game, 36-34. From there the lead swapped hands seven times and with 2:44 to go in the third, Lithuania was back in the lead by a point, 49-48.  Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers) drove to the hoop to give the U.S. the lead for good, 50-49, at 2:29, but it was a play involving a fast-breaking Gay 20 seconds later that really turned the tide. After Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics) disrupted a shot by Lithuania, the U.S. got the ball and Gay was streaking down the court when he was intentionally fouled by Mantas Kalnietis. In the confusion that ensued, Linas Kleiza was called for a technical. Gay sunk both his free throw tries and then Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers) stepped up to take the two for the tech and swished in both of his tries to push the USA advantage to 54-49.  ’That helped us a lot,’ said Gay. ‘Those four straight foul shots really got us into position where we can play and be the aggressor.’ Granger’s basket and the four free throws were the start of a game-deciding 17-0 run that was capped by a Westbrook layup that left the U.S. in control 65-49. The USA held Lithuania to a single free throw over a span of 7:25 as the USA’s opponents finally knocked down a three with 5:19 to play.  ’I think the key for me and the rest of the team is coming out and having a defensive mindset and I think that was a key for me, just coming out and defending,’ said Westbrook, who knocked down 4-of-5 from the field and hit both of his 3-point attempts. ‘I think if we defend our offense will take care of itself, we’ll be able to get into the lane and kick it out for open shots. I was just able when they kicked it out to knock down some shots, then try and get into the lane and get everybody else some shots as well.’  The Americans went up by as many as 20 points, 75-55, before cruising through the final minutes for the win.”

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  • Nick the Quick

    Spain is salivating….a team that can’t shoot, gambles on defense, no size to defend Lil’Gasol, no experience on the Euro pick and roll. Wish them well but it won’t be easy!

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    Yeah, I see a silver medal in Team USA’s future. Nothing to be ashamed of with the talent they have. We just always send the B-squad to the Worlds.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Thank god for Rudy Gay’s performance to make up for Durant’s 4-14 shooting, or the great Linas “TV L” Kleiza would have led Lithuania to a W over USA.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    I wanna see Kleiza in the L again. I think that dude’s matured as a player, he may surprise a few guys

  • JTaylor21

    See I told you guys that Durant is getting TOO much praise for supposedly being the next BEST thing since slice bread. Dude takes too many jumpshots, struggles when defended physically and can’t create good looks for his teammates when his shots aren’t falling. It’s like people didn’t watch the lakers series and see a player who struggled mightily against physical defense. Rudy Gay in my opinion should be the FIRST option for team usa because he can handle the physical play.

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    LK is eyeing MIP next season for the Raptors.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    Was NOT impressed by this performance – its early – but still.

  • Nick the Quick

    Yeah the USA-Spain game was horrid. It’s pretty sad seeing the Spaniards running that high pick and roll with Carlos Navarro/Rubio and Gasol/Reyes and scoring on every possession almost like the game against Greece at the last world’s. Not that the USA guards cannot defend against much slower, less athletic guards but for some reason that pick and roll is so effective for them. On the other side, the US has to make a tough contested shots only for Spain to run simple plays and score.
    Lastly, I dont care much for Rubio but he will be a pretty good player once he gets older and stronger. Just not right now.

  • http://sfdjklf.com Jukai

    Nick the Quick: uh… how will Rubio not be a good player now? Dude was packing the US squad apart.

  • http://gmail dirty frank

    Are we still talking about the Lithuania game or can we just move onto the Spain game. KD with 2 BIG blocks to seal the W!

  • T-Money

    Jukai: he’ll be an okay NBA player, not a star. He’s careless with the ball and guys won’t respect his ability to create for himself. And please, don’t bring up his age. If we can criticize D-Rose, KD.. we can criticize Rubio. He’ll also struggle staying in front of guys with better handles when he wont be able to disrupt their dribble. / The USA-Spain game made me realize why Euro guys are so bad at defending on the perimeter in the NBA: they’re completely lost when they can’t put their hands on people. Handcheking is semi-allowed in FIBA ball.

  • http://www.stonesthrow.com Michael NZ

    T-money, you can’t definitively say someone will or won’t be a star before they’ve ever played an NBA game. Especially in Rubios case. Heaps of talent, played pro and international ball since a young age, a high draft pick etc. Steve Nash wasn’t predicted to be a star, neither was Ben Wallace or John Starks or even Tony Parker. So you just can’t say that.

  • rob stewart

    Rubio=Hinrich

  • Jacob (from Australia)

    I watched this game and by no means was USA ‘led’ by Durant. He tried to be aggressive but was continually shut down and forced bad shots. Maybe it was just an off game but it didn’t look too good. Also, Rondo looked really lost out there, where as Westbrook took control at the point.

  • http://sfjdkldsfl.com Jukai

    T-Money: Michael stole the words right out of my mouth. How can you say for sure what level he’ll reach in the NBA?
    And what part of the FIBA game do you blame on for the fact that the US team collapsed on Rubio’s drive at the end of the game, which allowed Rubio to feed a wide open Reyes?
    Did Rubio play bad defense against the USA World Squad?
    Did you watch the game at all?
    You’re a smart guy, but you can be so stubborn in your ways. I think right now, if he doens’t improve, he’ll be a one/two time all-star. Not anywhere to the level people were predicting. But don’t get it mixed up: Rubio has improved his athletcism and his jumper to the point where he can start when he gets to the NBA. Play wit it.

  • http://sfjdkldsfl.com Jukai

    Also, I never mentioned his age, but just cause you mentioned it, Derrick Rose is 21, Kevin Durant is nearly 22, and Ricky Rubio is 19. Two years younger than Derrick Rose, who you consider young.
    Thanks for playing.

  • paolo paolo

    I havent seen Rubio in the second half but he held his own in first part. Though his ball handling looks subpar to the USA guards but decision-making and insticts for the game are top notch. I can not recall him being so motivated and active as in Europe he usually cruises through the game. The kid can be very valuable team player in the NBA. I am not sure that team is Minn

  • IAMORANGE4EVER

    Rubio was hotter than Buster Poindexter last night.

  • http://www.kb24.com The Seed

    Cosign JTaylor21 2:55 pm comment:
    What is America coming too!

  • WangChung

    Instead of just doubting the Spaniard, read what guys like Durant and Rose are saying about him.

  • http://hoopistani.blogspot.com hoopistani

    i hate reading articles which are basically one long paragraph

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