US passes Lithuanian test thanks to LeBron

LeBron James answered the challenge of the toughest Olympic opponent yet for the US NBA Dream Team, sparking a late rally to give the Americans a 99-94 victory over Lithuania and a quarter-final berth.

James scored nine of his 20 points in a crucial 12-2 US run late in the fourth quarter, taking the unbeaten multi-millionaire squad on his shoulders just as he did in the NBA Finals leading the Miami Heat to a title last June.

"He took the game over. He was terrific," US coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "He really made the plays that needed to be made in that last three minutes. To see him respond like that in this setting is one of the real positives from this game.

"For LeBron to just say, 'Look, I got it. I'm doing this' -- people talk with their bodies and actions and he did that. Basically he wouldn't give the ball up. I think he was saying that."

Only two nights after unleashing an Olympic record 156-point performance in a shooting practice of a victory over Nigeria, the Americans received a scare from a 1-3 Lithuanian side still fighting to secure a medal playoff berth.

"We had to defend after a historical game and then shoot the ball," James said. "We want to have a test game. We feel like any team can be beaten in this tournament and if you don't prepare and play the right way you can be beaten.

"Lithuania gave us a great game."

Carmelo Anthony also scored 20 points while Kevin Durant added 16 as the US NBA lineup rose to 58-1 since revamping the program after settling for bronze at the 2004 Olympics.

"Winning like we did was terrific for us," Krzyzewski said. "To be put in a position where every possession counted, we're usually not in those games. We had a lot of pressure on us and our guys came through."

Linas Kleiza, an NBA playmaker for Toronto, had 25 points to lead Lithuania.

"We tried to minimize turnovers and stop fast breaks and make them shoot contested shots over our hands. At the end they made some steals and got some fast breaks and some dunks," said Lithuanian starter Martynas Pocius.

"A loss is a loss but we played a really solid game against a really good team. I hope for our team that's a step forward."

Darius Songaila sank a jumper to pull Lithuania within 87-86 before James took charge, hitting a 3-pointer to start the spurt and a layup to end it in the dying seconds.

"He got into a good rhythm so we kept throwing to him," US guard Kobe Bryant said. "He had a complete mismatch on him and he kept attacking, getting to the basket and knocking down shots.

"Everybody pretty much kept a calm disposition and a level head. They obviously took advantage of some things that we needed to adjust."

That would be mainly on defence.

"We've got to do a better job of communicating defensively, talk more, we know that," US starting guard Chris Paul said. "You are always worried. We knew this was going to be a dogfight. Those guys played unbelievably hard. We will probably see them again."

When asked if curtailing practice time was a factor in the US struggle, the coach cited the toll of about 90 total NBA games over six months on James and fellow finalists Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden.

"There's a physical and mental and emotional price you pay for that," he said. "We've tried to pace them and make sure we're ready to sprint next week."

Loading...

Editor’s note:Yahoo Philippines encourages responsible comments that add dimension to the discussion. No bashing or hate speech, please. You can express your opinion without slamming others or making derogatory remarks.

  • Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects
    Phl, Japan sign P9.6-B ODA projects

    The Philippines and Japan have signed agreements for six official development assistance (ODA) projects amounting to 22.289 billion yen or around P9.6 billion. …

  • Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms
    Commission to launch glossary of Pinoy meteorological terms

    The Komisyon sa Wikang Filipino (KWF) will release a glossary of meteorological terms in Filipino to help the Filipino people better understand weather forecasts and instill disaster awareness among them. National Artist for Literature and KWF president Virgilio Almario said yesterday the KWF produced the glossary titled Patnubay sa Weder Forkast to simplify scientific terms used in the weather bulletins of the Philippine Atmospheric Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration …

  • Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP
    Divorce bill good scapegoat for couples – CBCP

    Contrary to what romance novel writers would want their readers to believe, there are no perfect marriages in the real world. This was according to Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) president Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villegas. In a statement titled “CBCP Position Against the Divorce Bill and Against the Decriminalization of Adultery and Concubinage,” Villegas said that while it is not easy to make relationships last, learning how to work out differences – and …

  • DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa
    DND holds off infra dev’t in Pag-Asa

    The defense department is holding off repairs and other planned infrastructure projects on Pag-Asa Island, one of seven islets and two reefs occupied by Filipino troops in the disputed Spratly Islands. Earlier, Foreign Affairs Secretary Albert del Rosario pointed out that the maintenance and repair of facilities in Pag-Asa Island are not covered by the Declaration of Conduct (DOC) of parties involved in the West Philippine Sea territorial disputes. “Repair and maintenance is okay but before …

  • Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns
    Blackout to hit 5 Aurora towns

    An 11-hour power outage will hit five towns in Aurora on Tuesday, the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines (NGCP) announced yesterday. The NGCP said Baler, Dingalan, San Luis, Ma. Aurora and Dipaculao would be affected by the blackout. The NGCP said parts of Nueva Ecija and Aurora were hit by a power interruption yesterday due to the tripping of the Cabanatuan-Baler 69kV line. …

  • Rules set for climate change programs
    Rules set for climate change programs

    The Department of Budget and Management (DBM) and the Climate Change Commission (CCC) have released the revised guidelines to track and monitor climate change adaptation programs of the government. “The government of the Philippines has demonstrated leadership and strong commitment in implementing a comprehensive reform agenda to respond to climate change,” read the joint memorandum circular published in The STAR yesterday. “With the goal of using the budget process to plan, prioritize and …

  • It’s time to move on– Speaker
    It’s time to move on– Speaker

    The nation can now move on as President Aquino has satisfactorily explained his side on the Mamasapano incident for which he even begged for understanding, lawmakers led by Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr. said yesterday. “It’s time to move on,” Belmonte said in reaction to Aquino’s pronouncements made before new police graduates at the Philippine National Police Academy (PNPA) last Thursday. The President has spoken far too much about what he knows and about his limited involvement in the …

  • ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February
    ToyotaPH continues it’s strong sales in February

    Toyota Motor Philippines (TMP) sustains its strong sales in its February performance. Toyota’s strong performance last month was due to the  high demand of the Vios, with sales of 2,012 units and of course the rest of Toyota’s line up such as the Fortuner, Innova, Wigo, Hilux, Avanza and Corolla Altis. Toyota’s luxury brand, Lexus, recorded 60 units last month. …

POLL

Should Aquino be held accountable over the Mamasapano operations?

Loading...
Poll Choice Options