Posts Tagged ‘Linas Kleiza’

The last day of the Round of 16 was as exciting as it could get. China gave Lithuania all it could handle, and the winner of the South American clash wasn’t known until the final seconds.

The day started with Lithuania, Group D winners, playing China, who won one game in their group play and still qualified. China came out strong in the beginning and managed to lead Lithuania most of the first half until Lithuanian star Linas Kleiza stepped up once again and had Lithuania on top by 5 at halftime. The third quarter was all Lithuania, yet as the fourth started, the Chinese slowly started getting back into the game, yet Kleiza, 30 points and 9 rebounds, scored 13 of Lithuania’s 14 points in the last quarter, keeping Lithuania on top comfortably everytime China got closer, and won the game 78-67. Liu Wei had 21 points for China.

The nightcap for the day was a South American classic rival match between Argentina and Brazil. After giving the American team a fit in group play, it was assumed that Brazil would make things hard if not win as well this game and play Lithuania. The game was even by the end of the first quarter, with Luis Scola and Carlos Delfino doing the job for Argentina while Brazil’s Marcos Huertas and Leando Barbosa scoring 20 of their team’s 25 points in the first quarter. The game continued to be as equal, with no team able to lead by a lot and by the third quarter the game was tied again. Insert Hernan Jasen for Argentina, who tied the score again after Barbosa knocking down 2 straight 3 pointers. Yet Scola’s 37 points overcame Huertas’ 32 points and his desperation three pointer to cut the lead to 2 points with 2 seconds left, to give Argentina a 93-89 win and a berth in the quarters to face Lithuania. Delfino had 20 points (3 for 3 on 3 pointers) and Jasen had 15 for Argentina, while Barbosa had 20 points for Brazil

Despite a horrible 7 point first quarter, team USA rebounded its way back into the game and delivered an excellent second half, including a 17-0 run, to serve Lithuania a 77-61 loss as a warmup for the FIBA World Cup that will begin on the 28th of this month.

Kevin Durant led the way with 15 points for Team USA, who shot 27 for 58, while Lithuania’s 25-for-62 shooting was led by Linas Kleiza’s 12 points.

Team USA trailed the first quarter 15-7 behind a woeful 3 for 21 shooting that included them missing all their three pointers and a missed dunk by Rudy Gay. Slowly, they started to get back into the game, including tying the game at 25 before finishing the first half trailing 29-28.

The “B team” USA only managed to improve its play in the second half behind its bench players, mainly Rudy Gay (14 points), Russell Westbrook (12 points on 4 for 5 shooting) and Eric Gordon (9 points), who had 48 of Team USA’s 77 points.

As expected, Kevin Durant (0 for 4 on threes), Chauncey Billups (7 points, 4 TOs, zero assists), Andre Igoudala (5 points), Tyson Chandler (0 points, 5 rebounds), and Rajon Rondo (4 TOs, 2 points, 1 assist) started the game for the Americans, whose horrible first quarter display clearly showed how nervous the inexperienced team was. Team USA has 13 players that include 5 21-year olds and only 2 vets that age 30+. The team is expected to be trimmed to 12 players by August 26th. It is also to note that none of the  Redeem Team players that played in the 2008 Olympics are playing  for this team.

Team USA will play Spain tomorrow at 7 PM GMT and will begin their quest for the World Championship on Day 1 vs. Croatia.