Notes from USA 89, LTU 74

The combination of Durant and Iguodala got it done on both ends for the U.S. (Garrett Ellwood/NBA/Getty Images)

ISTANBUL – The United States is one win away from winning its first World Championship since 1994. The U.S. advanced to Sunday’s gold medal game (2:30 ET, ESPN) with a 89-74 win over Lithuania in the semifinals on Saturday.

Kevin Durant was the story offensively, outscoring Lithuania (19-18) through the first quarter and a half and finishing with 38 points (a record for an American player in the World Championship) on 14-for-25 shooting. Durant was on fire from the start, and Lithuania could do nothing to contain him.

Lithuanian coach Kestutis Kemzura: “He was unstoppable today.”

Andre Iguodala: “That was beautiful.”

USA coach Mike Krzyzewski: “When a guy is doing that well, you have to keep getting him the ball.”

Yep, that pretty much sums it up in regards to Durant. Even the Lithuanian fans couldn’t help but appreciate the performance, giving Durant a nice ovation when he left the game late in the fourth.

But the USA defense, led by Iguodala was even more dominant in the first half. They allowed Lithuania to score just 27 points on 39 possessions in the first half. They forced just six turnovers in the first half, but had countless additional deflections.

Iguodala was given the assignment of defending Lithuania’s star forward Linas Kleiza, and you can say that Iguodala earned an ‘A’ with his performance. Kleiza has made a living in this tournament by using his strength to back his defender down and get to the rim. He tried to do that early on, but failed every time.

Here are the results of Kleiza’s first four post-ups.

  • Iguodala strips him and the ball deflects out to Jonas Maciulis, who misses a jumper.
  • Chauncey Billups strips him, with the U.S. recovering the ball.
  • Iguodala strips him, with the U.S. recovering the ball.
  • Iguodala strips him, with the U.S. recovering the ball.

After that, Kleiza started settling for jumpers. He finished with as many turnovers (four) as points, making just one of his 11 shots from the field. Iguodala obviously wasn’t the player of the game, but he deserves a lot of credit for the win.

“[Kleiza] is the heart and soul of their offense, and he took him out of the game,” Rudy Gay said afterward.

Lamar Odom also had one of his best games with this team, recording a double-double (13 points and 10 boards), adding three blocks. Krzyzewski called Odom “an unsung hero” after the game, noting that the Lakers forward has adjusted to playing center, “especially defensively.”

Lithuania stayed in the game in the second half with some timely threes and a zone that the U.S. had a hard time scoring against, but Durant just kept going and hit the dagger, a long, left-wing three that gave the U.S. an 18-point lead with 3:52 left.

  • With Krzyzewski choosing to go with more shooting against the zone, starting point guard Derrick Rose played just 12:03. Rose has had some success in the past penetrating the zone, but his first couple of drives on Saturday were a little out of control. He missed all four shots he took.
  • Even with more shooting on the floor, the U.S. shot just 8-for-25 (32 percent) from 3-point range.
  • Final numbers… USA: 89 points on 79 possessions (113 per 100). Lithuania: 74 points on 79 possessions (94 per 100).

***

More USA Basketball coverage: Analysis | Blog

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

91 Comments

  1. mike xin says:

    i’m sorry didn’t people just bash the US team in bad english? So what’s the excuse for this game? Referees?

  2. Turkey really ? says:

    lol sorry, but your best player is turkoglu and.. he hasn’t even been the best player.. so you really think Turkey even has a chance against the USA… na i don’t think so =]

  3. Stan says:

    I told all of you haters that the U.S. would easily win and they did. We will win the Worlds and take home the gold in 2012. You can compete but you’ll never defeat. USA is #1!!!!

  4. lilkedamaster says:

    Goodbye Turkey. This is our time.

  5. Devynetas says:

    I think Kevin Durant is better player than LBJ… and one of two best players in the world.

  6. dady says:

    turkey is coming..you should watch crazy turks..

  7. Tugay says:

    Sizin rüya takımınız varsa bizim gerçek seyircimiz var !

  8. Volkan Durkal says:

    TURKEY WILL BE CHAMPION , DONT BE SURE BE REALISTIC , WE PLAY WITH SOUL , AND WE ARE CONFIDENT AND WE DONT HAVE NOTHING TO LOSE….

  9. Hasan says:

    al içine amerikaaa.. Türkiye Şampiyoonnnnnn

  10. mike xin says:

    show some sportsmanship, it was a good game, no one ever said lithuania was bad, so childish..oh yeah and trying to diss US with crappy english doesn’t really hurt anyone since i couldn’t figure out half of what you guys are saying…

  11. john says:

    usa is the best basketball country by far!!! we have high school players who could go over there and just destroy people. im sure you guys saying we sent a weak team to the worlds. the team we have over there now is the equivalent of a high school basketball to the best team we could produce! kevin durant is the only super star over there we have 5 more who are just as good and 5 more who are better and derick rose is just becoming one you could bring your best team bet you they would still lose to this team and if we brought our best team it would be a 50 point blow out!!!

  12. Durant for FIBA MVP says:

    I think it’s been a pretty good game from both sides. Lithuania kept trying and it was a fun to watch this game. Kevin Durant once again played unstoppable he is playing out of his mind. He’s so young and plays this great I hope he’ll be the MVP of this tournament, he really deserves it.

  13. b says:

    seems a lot of Lithuanians are sore losers – at the end of the day, this is nowhere near the United States’ best team, neither was it Lithuania’s. But USA was able to shut down Lithuania’s go-to guy (Kleiza), whereas nobody could stop Durant, the American go-to player. And that’s the main difference. I’m not even American or Lithuanian (my team = New Zealand), so no bias here

    as for the finals – Turkey is going to give United States a migraine and a half. I think it’ll be fairly even, 50/50.

  14. american dream says:

    turkey will be the menu at the table… and US “B” team will eat em up. even if it’s a 7-game series, the turkish bath team won’t stand a chance.

    govenrment will not allow to do game fixing here. US is just too good for any team right now. see you at the 2012 olympics.

  15. MOJO says:

    if TEAM USA wins gold tonight.. Lamar Odom would win an NBA championship and a FIBA championship in the same year.. YEAH!! GO LAKERS!! 3peat.. =P

  16. McLovin says:

    Yeah one problem is that Turkoglu chokes when he plays around American players so don’t expect him to break out in the final. Your team has one thing that’s the fans. The American bench could win against the Turkish frontline anyday. Trust me the Brazil game was a fluke other then that US is tops in point differential, and will win this one 10+. Great run for the hometeam but this is where the Cinderella story comes to an end.

  17. USlosetoturkey says:

    LOL@ the guy who said basketball was born in america. Its from canada bro CANADA.

    • Jake says:

      Uh actually its from AMERICA bro. James Naismith was a teacher at the YMCA in Springfield Mass. when he invented the game of basketball. So bro, basketball is FROM AMERICA.

      P.S.- US won’t lose to Turkey.

    • bubblebuster says:

      Naismith was a Canadian but it was first played in Springfield, Mass. at a YMCA.

  18. PENDRAGONTravianPH says:

    At the age of 21, Durant is at its best! damn he’s a monster

  19. Dan says:

    9 years ago, America fell with a terrible tragedy in NYC, The World Trade Center got attacked by terrorists. But, Today Kevin Durant will not let America come up with another tragedy.

  20. Efe says:

    A TURK IS WORTH THE EARTH u will lose poor america.. we are going to win with 75 millions hearth

  21. Atilla Kuzeyhan says:

    yarın zenci sikişi var :D

  22. Baluda says:

    I wanted Lithuania to win..I couldn’t help but root for the underdog.
    It’s too bad that Kleiza had an off day….I expected the game to be a bit closer…
    What can I say about the Americans? They have an amazing team-no doubt about it.
    I really hope that Turkey upsets the States tomorrow…
    American fans need to learn some humility.
    Cheers from Canada!

    • american dream says:

      @ baluda… there is no such thing as a bad day…. US prepared for this and im sure lithuania prepared also. US is just too damn good

  23. Bescooo says:

    Turkey will be the CHAMPİON…

  24. Ebu says:

    Kevin Durrant vs 70millions Crazy Turks. We can do it. We are playing with 70millions people.Only for one reason. Dreamteam vs Nightmareteam.

  25. Emre says:

    Man, that final gonna be the best basketball match in history of FIBA.

    USA: talented, young, motivated team

    TURKEY: teamplay, intense defense, with fans, extra mtivated

    i hope that will be a fair match, but turkey is gonna win with his heart!
    peace

  26. batangspore says:

    Durat your the best ,go go go get and the gold. No doubt KD that you are on the TOP 3 Best basketball Player in the NBA…..I want to see you playing with KB , LB and DW at the 2012 Olympics Game….I think ….it’s Dream Team 2….

  27. Aaron says:

    I haven’t watched the game yet. Props to the Lithuanian team, i thought they would give the Americans more trouble seeing that they beat the Argentinian team with ease, the Americans brought their A game today.

    And for the others who complain about bad officiating, get over it!
    There is no such thing as a perfect game. As i recall in the past, the US team were more prone to bad calls in international tournaments.

  28. Ertug says:

    Today we furnished new pipe system to Serbia,
    tomorrow we will furnish another pipe system one to USA.
    :))

    Be sure that Turkish team will be more comfortable @tomorrow’s game while sending 3ps to USA.

    And never under estimate a hearth of a Turk.

  29. CLYDE says:

    WAIT U.S.A. TURKEY IS COMING !!!

  30. ATACAN says:

    The final of the WBC 2010 gonna be GREAT! The best 2 teams which are undefeated of the tournament gonna try to do best and make more effort tomorrow night.My heart says turkey will be champion but my basketball knowledge says USA willl be winner…who knows maybe crazy turks will get up happier on monday morning than usa people…

  31. alper says:

    go turkey go :) we are the champion!!!

  32. alper says:

    haydi türkiye goster gucunu amerika ya

  33. periong says:

    Kevin Durant is the World’s basketball best! Scola is the “beast”.

  34. jaime says:

    we had dream team 1, we had dream team 2, all full with super stars, now we have a team with only one super star, and few good players, , kevin durant deserve this gold medal more than any players on the other teams, he is the best

  35. Šaras says:

    Durant is the man

  36. theo says:

    Lithuania wasnt Greece. 4 years ago Greece made the world speechless!

  37. DODİ says:

    Hİ FROM TURKEY

    TOMORROW TURKEY WİLL BE WORLD CHAMPİON:)

  38. erkan says:

    Turkey is in the final. I think you should not feel on the top of the world D: You have 23 hours to be second in the championship :d You have stars, yes we have stars too and 6. player ” the fans”. We play with heart as a full team but your team is is a like a collection of some talented players. We will defend Durant and you will lose. last 23 hours wait and see :d

  39. Lyxx says:

    Durant Durant Durant

  40. periong says:

    USA vs. TURKEY for the 2010 FIBA World Basketball Ttile. Kevin Durant (USA) a humble man but a great and marvelous player should be easily the 2010 World’s Most Valuable Player.

  41. marko says:

    ltu is da best

  42. Luke says:

    Oh, and did I mention the Refs?
    How, whoever loses complains about them?

    GJ Lithuanians way to show the world who the real whiners are!

  43. GRR says:

    Can we please have a link to a box score? (FIBA’s website is truly hopeless, especially for box scores).

    Resounding win for the States; can’t see anybody stopping them in the final.

    Kevin Durant is awesome- 38 points in international ball is a rare achievement, especially on a team like USA where they share the ball and everybody can score. Oklahoma is a great place to be a basketball fan right now.

    Also, I loved the analysis of Kleiza vs Iguodala- Defense wins championships!

  44. Luke says:

    “wahhh this is not our best team” – Lithuanians

    I got news for you guys, this ain’t our best team either!!

    Best PGs in USA- Chris Paul, Deron Williams
    Best SG – Kobe and Wade
    Best SF – Lebron and Durant (theres you only exception, and Melo is right there with him)
    Best PF – Chris Bosh and KG
    Best Centers – Howard and Amare, or Bynum when he’s healthy

    Go beat it with your lame excuses

    Or Beat that team.. I’d like to see that!

  45. n.o says:

    cmon usa! u win this ull do wat lebron,carmelo,dwade,bosh,and kobe couldnt

  46. marko says:

    still, LTU is the best!

  47. Toronto says:

    It’s true the U.S team could be a lot better, but remember this tourney Argentina didn’t have manu/ Spain didn’t have gasol (pau)/ Brazil didn’t have nene; the general competition in this tournament has been less then the usual; the USA will always be the power house for this sport though.

  48. Serbian says:

    USA-Serbia in finals

    78-84 Serbia wins,Keselj 23 pts and game breaking 3’s

  49. Toronto says:

    I wanted kleiza to score 30 and the Us to win by like 2-5 points but meh, I should’ve seen it coming they were prepared

  50. Mr Sensible aka the new zzanzabar says:

    Just ask Allen Iverson how hard it is to find a job once you go through injuries, and lose a bit of your quickness. Im not saying this will happen to Wade, but Wade at 6’4 frame is not far from Iversons 6’2 frame. And belive it or not, Iverson is a better shooter.

  51. Mr Sensible aka the new zzanzabar says:

    Please dont dare tell me that Durant will not be the next best player in the league once Kobe leaves!! The kid is absolutely amazing, and my personal opinion is, Durant is the most well rounded Scorer in the Nba aside from The Black Mamba. If I had to start a franchise today and the goal was to pick a player who can get me a ring right away…It would be these 5 choices in order….1)Kobe 2)Lebron James 3)Kevin Durant 4)Carmelo Anthony or 5)Dwight Howard
    If it was for long term….my choice would be 1)Kevin Durant 2)Lebron James 3)Dwight Howard 4)Carmelo Anthony and alot will disagree with me, but 5)Derrion Williams.
    My reasons for leaving Wade off of the list is because in the Miami Heat’s second season after they won the championship, the finals mvp D-wade watched his team lose 15 straight games…before they traded Shaq to Pheonix.
    Great players will always be able to win you a game, but 15 losses in a row is something NO great player has endured….except Tracy in Orlando, but then he came back and lead Houston to 22 wins in a row. Wade’s athletisism makes him a prime time player, but should he go deep in the playoffs 4 years in a row, that body will slow down, and those high-flying dunks we see, will have to be replaced by either a post game, playing off the ball, or having one of the best jump-shots in the game…..Wade has neither. of the three. He is average at all, but mix his unbelievable athletiscism with his average spotty shooting, you have a extremely good player, but by no means is he GREAT. Durant has athletiscism, but he has the all-round game to make him a priemere player for years to come.

  52. UpDownBang says:

    Go USA…no Kobe, Lebron, D-Wade, Howard, Bosh, Boozer, D-Will, CP3, Rondo, Joe Johnson, Stoudimire, Bynum, Carmelo, David Lee, etc and we still make it 2 the finals loool. In a few years we will have even more superstars with John Wall, Blake Griffin, Greg Oden, Brandon Jennings, Tyreke Evans, Harrison Barnes, Derick Favours, Demarcus Cousins, Darren Collison, Marcus Thornton maybe Dejaun Blair the next Charles Barkley loooool just too much talent

  53. Tomas says:

    USA won this game, but they played dirty game. There was many episodes, when referies could give fouls, but if yours all game is dirty, refery can’t blow every time… US coach made big job…and K.D. was amazing, i think champinship MVP belongs him

  54. I says:

    Lithuania ! LIthuania !!! I love LITHUANIA and i think we will win 3rd place ! GOOD LUCK GUYS ^^ !

  55. marko says:

    It was not a clear game, as referee was in USA’s side… what a shame….. LTU should have won this battle….

    • AppleJacks says:

      What are you talking about? You guys wanted more physical contact and got it from the Unites States. But overall it was a good game. You guys did well.

  56. 34-4evr says:

    We have proven to this point that we do not need a superstar roster to dominate the international game, I, for one, was very glad to learn that Kobe, Lebron, Wade, Anthony, Howard, etc did not join up because i think we could all safely say that would have been way-overkill and would not have created such an intersteing story-line throughout the tourny. Not to mention the fact that the world gets to be introduced to our new young bucks in a marque fashion, its good global exposure and should help to develop their games nicely meaning a better NBA for all.
    Not sure if i was the only one, but when i heard that Durant, Rose, Gordan, and Billups were on-board, I could not envision a team not compiled of other American talents (like say a Williams, Bryant, James, Bosh and Howard line-up) could beat them. Adding Iggy, Lee, Westbrook, and Odom into the mix just made things silly.
    Despite its growing global populatiry and entrenched culture abroad (Spain, China, Russia, etc) Basketball still reigns supreme in the nation which gave it birth. for years the game has been a venue for american prowess, diligence, focus, grit, determination and will. I’m glad our players seem to feel the same way.

  57. Medstudent says:

    WOw durants a beast
    1. Kobe
    2. Durant
    3. Wade.
    4. Lebron
    5. Derrick Rose

    • BaJaPaNTy says:

      Wow seriously derrick rose in the top 5 so early in his career?? I think Carmelo Anthony has proven himself to be in the top 5 players. I would even put Chris Paul, Deron Williams, Dwight Howard up there before Rose, in a couple of years Id say Rose can be up there in the top 5 but not now. NO WAY. One more thing LEBRON is number 1!!

    • RB Da Kidd (BOS) says:

      Rajon Rondo would even go over Rose in my opinion

  58. yamotthaaaa says:

    iguodala 4 mvp

  59. Kestas (LTU) says:

    Well, USA have outplayed us in the first quarter and we could never come back from that. On offense US were a one-man-team with Durant being their only solid offensive weapon that we could not stop. Our main man Kleiza was empty, yet we more or less matched the Americans in quarters 2-4. I wonder how would Americans do if Durant would not produce.. Anyways, I feel we did not stick to the plan, there were periods when we could come back but made poor decisions on offense. Surely, American defense had a lot to do with that. However, the point I would like to stress is refereeing. Refs were poor and many of those turnovers in the first half (especially in the first period, that pretty much decided the outcome) should have been fouls for the Americans. I can easily see Iguodala fouling out in the first half, but he finished with three fouls (I think). Others had dirty steals as well.. I am very disappointed with Jungembrand.. Anyways, refereeing was bad, it surely cost us some points (like when Gay knocked away the ball above the rim, or those “steals”) but despite that Americans proved they were better tonight. I still think they do not deserve to be world champs for their arrogance, living in a separate hotel, not training (two sessions in the entire tournament, I think), being unable to say anything coherent about the opponent teams (at least coach K had no such problems ;)), calling Turkey a city and so on. But if they win tomorrow.. Well, respect to them and their ability to turn that individual talent into something meaningful after three failures to reach the final in a row. It is really refreshing to see them playing for their leader and not for themselves (although most of them are leaders in their respective clubs). I think this team would do even better if they played the FIBA style, but what the heck, maybe more variety is better. Also big respect to our team for what they did up to this point, we are extremely proud of them. The game for bronze tomorrow is going to be even tougher than this semifinal, because, unlike today, we must win it.

    • Jake says:

      You didn’t have to win against the US? Nice post for the most part, but don’t blame the refs for your team losing, and quit calling the Americans “arrogant.” They’ve respected each of their opponents enough to come prepared to beat them. They trained as much as they could during the worlds without wearing their players out. When you play back to back games you can’t do any training.

    • Anthony says:

      Try to separate their basketball from their off-court actions. This isn’t a contest of international knowledge here.

      Saying “I wonder how they would have done without Durant wasn’t producing” is faulty theorizing. Durant is near the bottom of the top ten players in the NBA, none of which besides him are actually playing on this team. So you got beat by someone who is very good, but not near the best we have to offer. Sorry.

    • Neutral Party says:

      Hey, I am not from either country, but I do feel your views are pretty much biased towards lith. I dont know about those fouls you were talking, but sorry, it sounded abit sore. Also, the reason why they went to Kevin Durant was because, he was hot offensively, so they went to him, Not because their plan was to go to him, Their plan was to share the ball but, due to the face that he was hot offensively, they changed their plan to go to him. So yeah…. I can understand your feelings, but try and look at things from a bigger picture.

  60. Jake says:

    Hey all you guys who were hatin on the US, where are you now!

  61. jAMAL says:

    man durant was on fire DURANT FOR MVP THIS SEASON NUFF SAID

  62. Law064 says:

    USA USA USA to All Lituania fans sorry but I said that team USA will pull out the win. Lituania is a good team and had a good run, they can try for the bronze US will get the GOLD!!!! USA USA USA

    • Law064 says:

      Kleiza only had 4 points he got shut down.. Where are all the Lituania fans now??? All I heard was were going to beat USA. USA is next lol the whole 9/11 thing hey that was motivation for K Durant who poured it on. 38 points lol Destroyed Lithuana. Big D from Iggy shut down their top player and now we’ll wait to see who we play in the Gold Medal Game. As my friend Homer Simpson would say USA USA USA

  63. andrius says:

    Well, this time USA had a good game and it wasnt a day for Lithuania. Personally i didnt see anything spectacular from US team today except Durant. Anyway congrats to USA from Lithuania.

  64. periong says:

    Team US wins vs. Lithunia, the hardwork and dedication of Coach Mike K and the “Boyz” are paying in this crucial stage of the championship. The win assured the USA of a slot in the 2012 London Olympics without going to any qualifying tournament.

  65. lithuania dream team! says:

    what we lose but we in world four best basketball team , it must be pride country like Lithuania, we gotta we number 1 in the world, we have bronze now.

  66. Petras says:

    So what? guys? we had our babes team agains your strongest. Next year you are going down! we will check who can play at least street ball, since now we sended just guys to catch the sun… and they are doing not so bad. Wait for me to show you some moves ;]
    good luck to take your well desrved silver!

    • Anthony says:

      Wait…you think that’s our strongest team? Look up who the best players in the NBA are, and you’ll see that this team is the third best possibility or so.

      • Zzanzabar says:

        I’m sorry Petras, but Anthony is right, this team is nowhere NEAR being the strongest team the USA could muster, but it was (is) the best in the FIBA tournament (so far). This team is literally our ‘babes’ team and deserves all the credit for it’s achievements.

  67. Justin says:

    Young guns bring the effort again, keep it rolling guys!

  68. sado says:

    Nice refeering

    • Alex says:

      You’re right man, the same as in the 2008 Olympics. I thought everyone has to RESPECT THE SAME RULES. Shame for the FIBA dropping their pants again :(

  69. Džiugas says:

    It’s was great mach, but USA is stroger :(

  70. andrewvuong says:

    Hehhehee. Kevin Durant is truly a beast on the court, no one can stop him.
    Great game. Hopefully USA can win gold this year!
    MVP of the tournament = KEVIN DURANT!

  71. Dexter says:

    USA’s defense is what won them the game. Iguodala played exceptionally well against Kleiza he really got Kleiza off his game with his intense defense. Kevin Durant is a scoring machine the zone defense does not work well when Kevin is on the floor. Congratulations to both teams it was a fun game to watch

  72. ExplosionWP says:

    Green Wave is the best team because there not playing 8 the best players of their country… Lithuania thank you so much…

  73. Giddy says:

    ,,You can win…you can beat us,but you can not destroy us”