USA Basketball: Struggles against Lithuania

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This upsets me to say, but I kind of saw this one coming.  After the 83-point beating team USA put on Nigeria, I figured they would come out and slip up a bit.  And boy did it almost cost them.

With less than six minutes remaining in the fourth quarter, the United States trailed Lithuania 84-82.  When LeBron James stopped passing and rebounding and kept the ball in his hands on offense, he and the U.S. put together one last run and outscored Lithuania 15-4 in the remaining minutes.  James would score nine of the final twelve points for the U.S.  

After recording an Olympic record 156 points, shooting 29-46 from three-point range, Team USA was only able to connect on 10-33 three-point shots.

The United States came into this game overconfident, and their performance showed that on the court.  After shooting video game-like stats, 71% from the field, they received a reality check this game when Lithuania put that shoe on the other foot, on the table, which has been turned, shooting 59% form the field.

Their shooting is what kept Lithuania in the game and the 23 turnovers is what kicked them out of the game.

When the United States had their backs against the wall, Coach Krzyzewski went to a smaller lineup playing James at center playing alongside Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Kobe Bryant, and Kevin Durant.  This smaller lineup set up more isolation plays for the U.S. on offense leading to their 15-4 run giving them the victory.

In other Olympic news, Russia defeated Spain 77-74.  This is an intriguing result because Spain was thought to be the only competition for the U.S.  With that result and their performance against Lithuania shows to me that nothing will come easy for them on their journey to a gold medal.

The United States looks to go undefeated in pool play and take the court next against Argentina on Monday 5:15 ET.

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Tags: Argentina Chris Paul Deron Williams Kevin Durant Kobe Bryant Lebron James Lithuania Mike Krzyzewski Olympics

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