In Team USA’s toughest test yet, the Americans held on to defeat Lithuania, 99-94 on Saturday morning. The game was close throughout with neither team ever having a major lead or advantage. Team USA was led by Carmelo Anthony and Lebron James, each with 20 points. Lebron took over down the stretch and really is the reason why America won this game. Kobe Bryant only shot 1-7. Lithuania was led by Linas Kleiza of the Toronto Raptors, who had 25 points on 10-20 shooting as well as 5 rebounds and 3 assists.
For the Nets, Deron Williams was the 4th leading scorer for Team USA with 12 points on 4-12 shooting in 23 minutes off the bench. He also had 2 assists and 2 steals. Deron has found himself a nice role with the Olympic team and although he is not starting, he is getting a similar amount of playing time to Chris Paul. I expect him to continue playing well for the rest of these Olympics.
Team USA really did not deserve to win this game. Unlike their last game where they shot over 70% from the field, they only shot 44% in this game and only 61% from the free throw line. Additionally, they only outrebounded Lithuania by 2 and Lithuania had 21 assists to Team USA’s 13. The only reason the Americans were able to win this game was their quick hands on defense and their ball security on offense. Team USA only had 9 turnovers to Lithuania’s 23.
Team USA will clearly need to play better that this if they want to win a gold medal. They probably would not get away with a performance like this against better teams. Their next game will be on Monday at 5:15 PM against Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili and Argentina. Argentina is a better team than Lithuania, and Team USA will need to play better if they want to win that game.