Kevin Durant topped his previous performance with 38 pts against Lithuania.
Did I say workhorse? I meant OX. Strap on the entire Team USA on his back, and he'll pull us through. He scored 10 of the first 12 pts, en route to a very nice halftime statline: fg=8/13 3pt=3/8 FT=5/5 24pts. The commentators said Lithuania face guarded Durant in the 2nd half to try to keep the ball away from him. It was hard to tell on a low quality video stream how often Lithuania did that to Durant, but it did look like they tried to guard him harder and Durant didn't seem to take as many shots in the 3rd. But he found ways to take shots before Lithuania could get to him, such as in transition. He polished off his performance in the 4th with some timely shots and a dagger long 2 that smothered any chance of a late Lithuania comeback. His 38 pts is a new Team USA record, surpassing Carmelo Anthony's record of 35 pts set in the 2006 FIBA tournament. Durant scoring by qtr: 17, 7, 5, 9.
But Kevin Durant was not the only reason why we won. Team USA broke open the game early on with their steals leading to points. It didn't help that Lithuania went cold in the 1st qtr, I think possibly because of Team USA's defense forcing them to rush their shots, but hard to tell for sure on a low quality video stream. Whatever the cause, Lithuania could not score a fg in the last 4:34 of the 1st qtr, resulting in a Team USA 14-1 run and an 11 pt lead at the end of the 1st qtr. Lithuania's cold shooting continued into the 2nd as they could not hit any long shots, allowing Team USA to push the lead to 15 at the half. The rest of the game consisted of Team USA fending off any comeback attempt Lithuania tried to put together and keeping them no closer than a 10 pt deficit. Final score: 89-74.
Today, Team USA goes for the gold medal as they face Turkey in the championship game. Familiar names on Turkey: Hedo Turkoglu, Ersan Ilyasova
The last time Team USA went for gold in FIBA was in 1994, hosted by Canada. Dubbed the "Dream Team II", they blew out every opponent they faced, including Russia in the final game. Here's a link summarizing the 1994 championship run: TWELVTH WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP -- 1994
Team USA, 1994. The last FIBA gold medal team, coached by Don Nelson.
Trivia: Tom Abdenour was on that team as an athletic trainer.
Some highlights of the 1994 Dream Team II. For just a moment, you can see a younger Don Nelson hop off the bench cheering for a play.