Coming off a masterful performance against Nigeria, the United States looked unbeatable. After Saturday’s contest against Lithuania, a 99-94 victory in which the Americans trailed in the fourth quarter, no one believes the U.S. is untouchable.
The Mike Krzyzewski-led United States struggled mightily from both beyond the three point arc and at the free throw line. Among those who struggled for the Duke basketball head coach were Kobe Bryant, who shot just 1-for-7, and Deron Williams, who managed just 4-of-12. As a team, the United States shot a mediocre 30.3% for three and just 61.3% from the charity stripe.
After trailing by six entering the fourth quarter, the Lithuanians surged ahead with 5:51 remaining on the strength of a Paulius Jankunas layup. It took the heroics of Lebron James to save the Americans and put them up for good, as the reigning NBA MVP put in nine points of his 20 for the game in the final four minutes.
Lithuania managed to stay with the United States all game thanks to standout performances by NBA forward Linas Klieza and former Blue Devil Martynas Pocius. The Duke product had a very well-rounded game, scoring 14 points with seven rebounds and six assists, leading Lithuania in both rebounds and assists for the game. Pocius has managed to get better and better as the tournament has gone on. After starting the Olympic pool play with a six turnover game against Argentina, Pocius has put together back to back double-digit point outputs, scoring 15 against France before his 14 against the United States.
Pocius will look to continue his strong play with the final pool play game against Tunisia, while the United States look to gain momentum against Manu Ginobili and Argentina.