USA vs. Lithuania Olympic Basketball: Grades, Twitter Reaction and Analysis

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USA vs. Lithuania Olympic Basketball: Grades, Twitter Reaction and Analysis

Team USA beat Lithuania in what turned out to be a hotly contested 99-94 game.

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While America finally stopped the Lithuanian surges at the end, the over-confidence of Team USA put it in bad positions throughout the game.

It wasn’t until Lithuania took the lead in the fourth quarter that Team USA took the game seriously and stepped it up.

Led by a big scoring effort from LeBron James in the waning minutes of the game, the Americans rode the hot-scoring Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant to the tough win.

No team wants to come that close to losing, but this could be the best-case scenario in terms of team development moving into the elimination tournament after one more game against Argentina in group play.

 

Twitter Reaction

New York Post Knicks insider Marc Berman talked about how Team USA at halftime looked a lot like a team he had the pleasure of covering recently:

Tommy Beer, NBA analyst for Hoopsworld.com, shared the absolutely ridiculous stats for Carmelo Anthony over the nine quarters leading up to halftime:

With Team USA struggling to stretch a lead against the Lithuanians, SportsNation took a jab at the current “Dream Team”:

As Lithuania gave Team USA a contest it didn’t know it wanted, ESPN’s Kevin Negandhi discussed the biggest reason this matchup was even close:

Matt Moore, NBA blogger for CBSSports.com, raised a point that is very true:

 

Team Grades

USA: C

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
After absolutely giving up on the foul line and depending too heavily on the three-point shot, Team USA’s over-confidence from its huge win over Nigeria showed throughout the game.

While the Americans never want to be scared like they were against the Lithuanians, the tough play and playoff-like atmosphere is what the team needs to realize this is a real competition. There can be no mailing it in.

 

Lithuania: A

Despite the loss, the Lithuanians came out with no fear of what the Americans had offensively or defensively. Despite the red-hot play of Carmelo Anthony, Team Lithuania brought its best defense against the far superior Team USA.

There is no denying the loss is a big blow to the Lithuanians, but they proved they are one of the best second-tier teams in this competition. With a big game against Tunisia next, there is a good chance Lithuania hits the bracket red-hot.

 

Game MVP

Carmelo Anthony, Team USA

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

While everyone wants to look at the fourth quarter from LeBron James, it was Carmelo Anthony that has continued being as red-hot as anyone in the world.

Without his 20 points in 24 minutes, Team USA would have lost this game.

We also can’t forget that Carmelo was the only one on the team that was hitting his free throws with any sort of consistency. While his defense has never been great, that is no secret; Carmelo is there to score, and that’s what he did.

 

What's Next?

Christian Petersen/Getty Images

For Team USA, barely holding on to a win it should have had easily will be the slap in the face that the over-confident squad needed. With a lot of basketball left in this tournament, Team USA better use this close call as motivation moving forward.

As for Lithuania, Tunisia is next on the schedule. While this should be an easy win for Lithuania to get back on the right track, Tunisia played France hard and will not back down.

 

Check back for more on the 2012 Summer Olympics as it comes, and don’t miss Bleacher Report’s Olympics page to get your fill of the best athletes the world has to offer.

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