USA Basketball 2012: 3 Keys to Saturday's Game Against Lithuania
Team USA has cruised through the group stage of the 2012 London Olympics basketball tournament.
They recently set an Olympic record for points in a game by demolishing Nigeria 156-73.
If they can play like that, there’s not a team in the world that can even come close to beating them.
But, on Saturday, Team USA will face a tougher foe in Lithuania. Here are three keys to that game that will keep this team rolling.
Stop Linas Kleiza
Kleiza, a forward for the Toronto Raptors, is really the only offensive threat on Lithuania’s roster.
He’s averaging 16.7 points per game thus far and is making his shots at a high percentage as well.
The next leading scorer on Lithuania’s roster is only averaging nine points per game, so Kleiza is the man to stop.
If Team USA can limit Linas Kleiza, they’ll probably earn themselves another blowout victory.
Don’t Fall in Love with the Three
Yes, Team USA was hitting an outstanding percentage of threes against Nigeria, a pleasant change from the first two games of the tournament.
But that was more of an indication of Nigeria’s lax defense than anything on the Americans' part.
If Team USA falls in love with the three against a tougher defensive team like Lithuania, it could spell trouble.
They need to get back to the slashing offense that they run so well with guys like LeBron James, Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook.
Continue Getting Solid Production from Bench
Carmelo Anthony, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook and Kevin Love all had amazing performances against Nigeria and have played well this entire tournament.
Melo made 10 three-pointers on Thursday and finished the game with a whopping 37 points.
Williams finished with a strong double-double, Love was hitting his shots and Westbrook was his usual dynamic self.
If that crew can continue to extend leads against tougher teams, the gold medal is a foregone conclusion for the Americans.
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