Team USA came out slow once again. Lithuania has played close games against team USA in previous tournaments. Since 2000 team USA is
Steph Curry, James Harden and Kenneth Faried quickly picked up two fouls apiece in the 1st quarter. There was too much isolation basketball as team USA only shot 6-21 from the field. Anthony Davis was not a factor as he took one shot. They were also sloppy with the basketball turning the ball over six times.
Lithuania attacked the basket early and often. They took 15 shots in the quarter but they were 7-12 from the free throw line. Team USA only has 12 free throws for the entire half. They had their own problems with turnovers as they had seven of them.
Klay Thompson came in to give team USA some life. He was 2-5 from downtown and had 8 points to lead the team in the quarter. Rudy Gay played well in the quarter although he didn’t score. He played solid defense and grabbed five rebounds. Team USA ended the quarter on an 11-3 run to take a 21-16 lead.
Curry came back for the 2nd quarter and quickly scored 5 points before picking up his 3rd foul and sitting down for the half. James Harden continued to struggle going 0-3 in the quarter. Aside from his big 3rd quarter against Slovenia he has been in a big slump.
There were no turnovers for team USA in the 2nd quarter but they still did not move the ball enough. They had 3 assists going into halftime. This team plays their best when they move the ball and get good shots. They went into the half shooting 15-46 (32%). After a stellar performance against Slovenia Derrick Rose was 0-4 in the half.
Lithuania outrebounded the U.S. 28-26.They did not shoot the ball well, only 9-29 (31%). They continued to attack the rim and shot 22 free throws. Their 11 turnovers did not hurt them in the 1st half. The game was ugly and Lithuania controlled the tempo of the game. They trailed at the half 43-35.
The 3rd quarter has been team USA’s best quarter throughout the tournament. In the previous game against Slovenia they put the game away in the 3rd quarter. Team USA came out with an 18-4 run to put the game away. After only three assists in the 1st half they had six assists in the 3rd.
After another scoreless 1st half, James Harden led the charge in the 3rd quarter scoring 16 points. Team USA just picked up their defensive intensity and that led to a quicker pace. There was a minor hiccup during the run when Steph Curry picked up his fourth foul but that did not hinder team USA. They quickly answered with six straight points when Klay came in.
Lithuania just looked slow in the 3rd quarter. Once team USA got it going they had no answers. The turnovers finally caught up with Lithuania. All the shots that the U.S. was missing were starting to go in as they outscored Lithuania 33-14 in the 3rd. After being up just 8 at half, the lead was 76-49 entering the fourth.
The game was over in the fourth as Kyrie Irving found his shooting touch and scored 11 points. The guards led the team once again as the frontline struggled. Irving led with 18 points, followed by 16 from Harden and Thompson.
The frontline struggled once again against size. Kenneth Faried had 9 points and 6 rebounds while Anthony Davis fouled out with 8 points and 6 rebounds. It might be a good thing that Spain was bounced from the tournament because our frontline seems to struggle against physical big men. Klay Thompson was the savior once again as he got it going early to make sure team USA went into the half with a lead.
Team USA faces the winner of France/Serbia on Sunday in the gold medal game. It has not been pretty but we always expected them to make it to the gold medal game.