Notes from LTU 78, CHN 67

ISTANBUL — The round of 16 continues to go according to plan, with Lithuania being the seventh higher seed to advance to the quarterfinals, knocking out China with a 78-67 victory on Tuesday. Lithuania will play the winner of the Argentina-Brazil game on Thursday.

This one was a bit of a see-saw affair, and the argument could be made that China did itself in with missed opportunities and poor defense.

With Lithuania turning the ball over five times in their first 12 possessions, China actually had a 16-5 lead in this one early. And Liu Wei had a chance to put his team up 13 after he stripped Tomas Delininkaitis at the mid-court line, but Liu blew a wide-open layup and Lithuania got back in the game with a 12-3 run.

They went up five late in the second quarter with a 13-2 run, but China hung in and trailed by just three at the half. Overall, even though both teams missed some easy looks at the rim, it was a pretty well-executed first half, with 83 total points scored on 73 possessions.

Hitting a couple of threes early in the third quarter, China tied the game at 48, but Lithuania answered with a 14-1 run. China turned the ball over three times during that stretch, while allowing Lithuania to get far too many wide open looks at the basket (especially on inbounds plays) on the other end.

That looked to be the deciding stretch of the game, but China climbed back to within five midway through the fourth. Then Linas Kleiza put it away with a personal 10-3 run, again getting too many wide open looks at the basket.

  • Kleiza finished with a game-high 30 points on 14-of-22 shooting. He didn’t hit a single three, but had no problem getting shots inside against China’s soft defense.
  • Lithuania had 14 offensive boards. China had four.
  • Same ‘ol story for Yi Jianlian. He had a solid line (11 points, 12 rebounds, two steals and two blocks) and a couple of impressive plays offensively, but never made a real impact on this one.
  • Wang Zhizhi had a pair of pretty high-low dishes to Yi, but we didn’t see enough of that. Wang is skilled, but much too slow to create any space for himself. He had 11 points and seven boards, but shot just 5-for-14 from the field.
  • China’s offense was decent in the first half (40 points on 37 possessions), but pretty bad in the second half (27 points on 36 possessions).
  • After turning the ball over five times in their first 12 possessions of the game, Lithuania committed just two over their next 44 times with the ball.

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

One Comment

  1. Šaras says:

    Lithuania all the way !!!!!!!!!!!!