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USA vs. Lithuania: Anyone Watching?

mikeyvthedon
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USA vs. Lithuania: Anyone Watching?

USA is playing nicely on offense, have given up quite a few fouls (Iguodala has 3 in the 1st quarter). Linas Kleiza has been the man for Lithuania, playing pretty well and scoring from just about all three levels. Melo is still on fire. Has 10 in the first. 33-25 after the first.

For those wondering about Valanciunas, he has a bucket, a foul, has not been special thus far. Has generally been locked down by Tyson Chandler. Jonas can run quite well for a player his size, obviously has something that is rare in a player his size. Just will definitely need to put on some muscle (like we knew already) and is going to be a bit of a work in progress. Foul trouble will happen, needs to keep the ball high. Give him time, Raps fans.


BothTeamsPlayedHard
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Who would have guessed that

Who would have guessed that the u-whatever legend might not be ready for grown folk ball? It is almost as if the pros have actually seen 7-footers before.

Can Toronto get Iceland on the schedule?

rileymcshea3
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I don't think Valanciunas has

I don't think Valanciunas has been in since he got in foul trouble

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USA defense getting lit up by

USA defense getting lit up by Sarunas and the boys, USA shooting too many threes. Lithuania is not very good but if they play like this could lose to an elite team like Russia or France.

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Clubs like Lithuania and

Clubs like Lithuania and Greece know how they have to handle the US, and it has been that way for a decade plus. They don't crash, three or four men rotate back after a shot to keep the US from getting out in transition. They tighten up defensively to force outside shots. If the US makes shots, they win but that is expected. If Lithuania, Greece, or Russia can't hit their shots, its over as well, though once again that cannot be coached through. But... when the strategy works, they get the game into the 4th quarter with it being close and have a chance for the upset. It is different from how Argentina and Spain approach the game with the US, but there is no better way to handle them when overmatched. I guess Manu going Manu can work, but in lieu of that you do what you have to do.

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Is it on TV anywhere?

Is it on TV anywhere?

mikeyvthedon
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Another note

With Russia beating Spain, seems like that might break-up most peoples predicted Gold Medal game. Russia is now 4-0, Spain 3-1 in Group B. If Russia beats Australia (seems likely) and Spain beats Brazil, that would set-up a likely USA/Spain semi-final instead of final. If Brazil beats Spain, than that could still dip them to 3rd in Group B, setting up a pretty likely re-match of Russia/Spain for a chance at the Gold Medal game. Hope this made sense, but what I am saying is that right now the USA may indeed have to play Spain sooner than expected, bumping one of them out of Gold Medal contention.

55-51 USA, kind of slacking and getting beat on the glass by some bigger Lithuanian players (not Valanciunas, sorry Raps fans). 33.6 seconds left, Kleiza at the line. USA has not played their best basketball. Neither has Lithuania, but they are indeed playing hard and not backing down. By the way, anyone watch the Russia/Spain game? I see that Spain was up 28-11 after 1! Than they lose 77-74. The USA needs to learn from that, here is hoping for a better 2nd half.

Wait, Joe, I am watching a game in Canada you aren't in the USA? How is this happening? Just on CTV or whatever here (luckily). Do not know what it would be in the States, just happy we have it (for once).

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No, I'm in the US. I don't

No, I'm in the US. I don't have league pass either, I was just hoping i'd luck out.

mikeyvthedon
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I know you are

Just was kidding around. I don't have league pass, just was surprised it was on Canadian TV (none of the other games have been to my knowledge). At half time they are showing women's trampoline (which is fine, because I actually know these people. Used to do trampoline. Was not good, had a friend who was). Kind of worried that they might not have the 2nd half, hope they do. I do have League Pass, is not even on that. Why, Canada? Well, sorry for the confusion, hope you find it somewhere.

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Haha, it's all good. I like

Haha, it's all good. I like watching most of the Olympic events, especially track, but I gotta get me my Redeem Team fix! You'd think it'd get good ratings here, which is why I don't get why they don't play them until they get into mdedal contention.

mikeyvthedon
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It's Collins and Sager on sidelines

Not on TNT? That sucks. We don't get TNT in Canada, luckily we picked this up. Has been a really good game, close at least. Would love to see the US playing better, just nice to see them at all. Jasikevicius picked up foul #3, could be USA's time to stretch the lead. USA needs to start making FT's, 10-18.

Jasikevicius stays on, drains a trey, 63-61 US. Kobe gets fouled by Jonas V, gets hit in the throat by Mamba. Kind of jolted the young big fella.

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How did coach K never give

How did coach K never give Pocius any playing time in all his years at Duke?

mikeyvthedon
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Apparently

He was injured according to Doug Collins (whose son Chris is an assistant, so I guess he would have inside info). They were always stacked at guard, as well. Gerald Henderson, Jon Scheyer, Nolan Smith and Elliott Williams were all ahead of him in the depth chart his senior season. Switched back to the game, btw! Jonas Sabonis (as BTPH likes to call him, mockingly), scores a nice little lay-up. 55-53. Than Jasikevicius hits a trip. 56-55 Lithuania. Pick it up, USA!

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Lietuva takes the lead!!

Lietuva takes the lead!!

mikeyvthedon
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Ooh!

Well, 7-0 run, USA gets the lead back. Riding Durant, couple LeBron drives. Pocius missing that wide open shot was a killer. Seems like you jinxed him, McKrzyzewski.

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As a Toronto fan, watching

As a Toronto fan, watching Valanciunas has me worried now.

mikeyvthedon
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Give him time

I think that was always going to be the case. He had a tremendous U19's, but he was going up against his own age group (not to mention not near the USA's best). The expectations are way to high. I still expect him to contribute more or close to Ed Davis, be a better option than Amir Johnson. Just expecting him to come right in and be the franchise center is WAY too much. If he plays 22-28 good minutes on most nights, that should make people happy in his rookie season.

ENOGSIWONdede
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If they lose it might be the

If they lose it might be the biggest upset in basketball history 34 point spread is the largest I can think of.

mikeyvthedon
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34?

Well, that ain't happening. Still think the US has yet to play their best defense. Expectations went crazy after that Nigeria game. They just need to start attacking and play USA basketball. Lithuania ties it up 67-67. Melo gets fouled, they need to D up! Come on, USA! Let's play that same defense they played against France!

ENOGSIWONdede
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they need to put their

they need to put their athlete in and clap down on defense

Chandler

Lebron

Iggy

Westbrook

Paul

BlueRivers25
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SMH at Coach K sometimes

K best lineup of 3 SF (Lebron, Melo, Durant) 2 Guards (Paul/Williams and Kobe/Westbrook), but vs Lithuania he went with 2 PGs (Paul, Williams) G (Kobe) 2 SFs (Lebron and Melo/Durant) a lot in the 4th. Very fast, but very small lineup.

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Team USA 7-24 3PT... Playing

Team USA 7-24 3PT... Playing terrible defense and not making their free-throws either.

Lithuania looking very good against Team USA at both ends.

mikeyvthedon
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78-72 after 3

Bad free throw shooting. Bad three point shooting. Who ya gonna call? JJ Reddick! Kidding, of course. Do not think that he would be helping much here, just been pretty poor defense and a lot of settling for the USA. Every time it looks like they have a chance to build a lead, they settle for an outside shot. Hoping for an inspired 4th quarter. Lets get this USA!

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He could make every big play

He could make every big play down the stretch of this game and make me eat my words, but Kobe Bryant isn't looking very good at either end.

mikeyvthedon
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He really isn't

Kobe is forcing it, gambling on D. Not the best thing to do with this much talent around him. Was laughing off the trash talk about Kobe, just see that in this game, he is not playing his best basketball in the least.

Ang Puti Lalaki
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about to be kobe'd?

a couple of player are looking good, but tthere is no way that U.S. should be having problems with this squad.

mikeyvthedon
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82-80 Lithuania

Pocius, Kleiza, this is getting scary. Lets ride LeBron and Durant, USA. Hoping LeBron goes into more of a scorers mode. 84-82 Lithuania, until CP-3. 85-84 USA. DEFENSE!

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The hits that Jonas took

when trying to block Kobe's drive made me hurt. Elbow in the throat and a knee in the nuts... ouch.

I love how unselfish Lebron is and how focused he is on playing team ball, but in a game like this where it is close in the 2nd half I would like to see the Lebron that wears a Miami uniform. I wish he would push the issue more, he can get a 6 foot and in shot anytime he wants.

Doesn't matter if AD remembered to put his jersey on or not... he's not getting in the game today.

Why is Chris Paul so dead set on switching ball screens when it's obvious that they throw it into the post on him everytime? Lit Town is supposed to be a terrible 3 point shooting team.. fight thru the screen instead of giving them an easy lay up.

IndianaBasketball
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It's looking like LeBron is

It's looking like LeBron is going to have to go into that mode at both ends and save Team USA because everybody else just wants to settle.

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Terrible game, USA

USA are point - to - point against a team lead by Kleiza.... 8/30 threes.... what a shame... what a bad team today.... they give a strong signal to the world: hey you can beat us.... yes, you can.

mikeyvthedon
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Lets go Bron!

5 straight! Than nice pass to Songaila from Jasikevicius. Than 95-88 off D-Will trey! Lets go USA! Seems like LeBron knew he needed to on offense, 7 points of the last 10, 97-88!

IndianaBasketball
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LeBron made a three-pointer,

LeBron made a three-pointer, but I'm hating that he's settling too.

Not very happy with Team USA right now.

IndianaBasketball
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Right as I post that, he

Right as I post that, he drives it to the basket...

Happy LeBron got aggressive and picked it up when Team USA needed it.

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Lebron james is the leader of

Lebron james is the leader of this USA team

royk927
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You have to give lithuania credit though

Lithuania gave the USA all they could handle.

IndianaBasketball
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I'm getting tired of Chris

I'm getting tired of Chris Paul... Just shoot the damn ball when you catch it. He always hesitates, letting the defense close out, then he dribbles and then shoots.

He pounds the damn ball too much.

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Incredible performance by

Incredible performance by Lithuania, it was a great game.

mikeyvthedon
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Kobe!

So smart. LeBron breaks it down. Fan-freaking-tastic. 99-90, they have played terribly, but looks like they are closing this one out. Lithuania has played great basketball. Know they wish they could have cut down some of those poor decisions, but they have been very worthy opponents. Kleiza with 25! 99-92. The USA has to be MUCH better against Argentina, hoping we see the aggressive LeBron a bit more. 99-94 final. Lithuania gave them one hell of a scare, the USA has a lot to think about.

ENOGSIWONdede
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lol USA would of lost by 9

lol USA would of lost by 9 probably if they did not have Lebron

Ang Puti Lalaki
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James / Durrant save U.S.

side note

Bryant 1 for 7,

Harden should be the back up Sg!

IndianaBasketball
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Kobe didn't play well, but

Kobe didn't play well, but James Harden hasn't been the same player since the NBA Finals. His confidence is shot.

You've probably been a Kobe hater since you joined this site in 2008, so what's new...

Eventually Kobe will come through big for this team... We all know he won't be rattled period.

IndianaBasketball
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Had Lithuania not turned the

Had Lithuania not turned the ball over so much, they may have won even with LeBron getting aggressive down the stretch.

You can't beat Team USA with 23 turnovers.

bobbyb
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Wow great match,

Wow great match,

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free throws

the us are normaller pretty gd at the line. with their normal shooting rate this would have been no closer than a 10 point game in their favor. Litte things like that will go a long way in the up coming games.Need them freebies.

Obviously this will be a wake up call of sort after that Nigeria scrimmage

European Baller
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lol at the FIBA refs....

lol at the FIBA refs....

Nigeria beats Lithuania and Greece at the qualification tournament......

then loses to Lithuania by 19 at the olympics.

Then loses by 83 to USA at the Olympics.

Then Lithuania loses by 5 to USA at the Olympics...

FIBA's corruption makes me sick.

lalaila
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wait a minute...remember my

wait a minute...remember my post a few days ago i was mad that analysists didn't mention Lithuania as a danger but a team like Brazil who are strong but have no big wins was mentioned..

we have our history..we have basketball in our blood..

i feel like after big time victory even if they lost!!! we just proved even without best roster we have had we are still belong to elite!

GO LITHUANIA LOVE YAH

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Glad we sneaked it out,

Glad we sneaked it out, Lebron has been a different player ever since the finals, but we need to play better if we're gonna run the tables, which is our ultimate goal.

Spain is banged up, almost lost to Luol Deng's GB team, and lost by 3 to Kirilenko's Russians, but Andrei only scored 8 tonight, the leading scorers were people I've never heard of before.

USA's in luck in a sense because Spain is banged up, Marc Gasol isn't healthy, Jaun Carlos Navaro is really hurting as well, they just aren't the Spain that pushed USA to the brink in 08. However, you have to watch out for Argentina on Monday, that team has a lot of pride and they want to beat USA. I hope we understand that we can't just waltz into every game and win by 83.

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Remember , when Lithuania

Remember , when Lithuania lost to Nigeria in the Qualifier, they didnt need that game and they were playing back to back games. When a reporter interviewed a Nigerian player, he said that they were lucky that Lithuanian played the night before and they looked tired.

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So much for that argument

So much for that argument that they could have beaten the Dream Team. LeBron is so far and away the best player on the planet, it isn't even funny. That said, he shouldn't need to be this way in the Olympics with the squad around him.

Pocius didn't get minutes at Duke because he wasn't that good at that age. Players don't stop getting better just because they turn 22. He has gotten a ton better, and now he will soak in that Real Madrid money. Good for him.

This part is hard for me. I give Jonas Sabonis grief because he gets wildly praised for nothing things like making a layup (cough, cough, mikey) and the fact that he can dunk on kids much smaller than him. I feel like with him the legend of what he is never meshes with what he does or can do. I also point out that the Lithuanian league really is just two teams, so I do feel like I am piling on a bit in pointing out that this current team is good but not special. I have always thought that Kleiza was a better gunner than he is given credit for being. Jasikevicius got lost in the mix when he came to the NBA and never really showed his true ability. Songaila had a nice run in the NBA as a pick and pop big man. I tend to believe Mantas Kalnietis will have a chance to sign an NBA contract in a year or so if he wants to go that route. That said, they are going to get out of group play with only wins over Tunisia and Nigeria. They have good players and had a great approach to playing the US, but for all the talk of this US team being comparable to 1992, the 2012 Lithuania team is not as good as the Sabonis, Marciulionis, Kurtinaitis era team.

mikeyvthedon
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This is praise?

Jonas Sabonis (as BTPH likes to call him, mockingly), scores a nice little lay-up.

LOL, wow, really went all out. I would say commentary, though i do not at all feel I have gone overboard on him. I have been almost as skeptical as you have, dude. I think Jonas Sabonis, as a nickname, is hilarious as hell. Totally understand the sarcasm involved. Still, was just stating that he had made a lay-up for everyone here (as this is a draft website) who equate Lithuania with Valanciunas and how he is doing.

Kleiza can be tough, just wildly inconsistent. He has a role on this team and took advantage of guys without his bulk. Still, as a person that lives in Toronto and judging by his career, he is a volume shooter. Maybe it was the injuries, but this season he was bad much more often than good. Nothing special as a defender, sort of in between positions.

Agreed that Dream Team this is not. Lithuania 1992 does definitely seem better than this current bunch. They lost to the USA by 51. I think people need to realize that not only did the Dream Team have Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, Charles Barkley and Karl Malone, they also had two 7 footers who were legitimate scoring options (not to mention athletic/strong). To me, that completes the separation of the 1992 team from this one.

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And also in this close game

And also in this close game Coach K decided not to play either of his big men. So I hope you aren't going to look at this Lithuanian score and balme the big men who Coach K didn't play.

Chandler is a great center, but yes not the type of guy you can run your offense through. And also not the type of guy who will block a ton of shots. So he loses out to Ewing and Robinson. But he could be huge in this type of game when you have scorers at nearly every position. And of course Davis is just potential at this point and it would be silly to ask him to match up against those two hall of famers.

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