Then LeBron James took over.
With the U.S. leading 87-86, LeBron hit a 3-pointer to put Team USA ahead 90-86 with 3:58 to play. LeBron would score nine of the final 12 points of the game for Team USA as they survived a very serious scare by Lithuania to win 99-94.
LeBron finished with 20 points in the game but uncharacteristically had zero assists. That was due to Team USA struggling with their 3-point shot going just 10-for-33, just one game removed from their record-setting 29-for-46 performance from downtown vs. Nigeria.
LeBron will make us forget about all of the things Team USA did wrong in this game. He took over when he needed to and reminded us why he is the best player in the game right now. But what Lithuania did isn’t going to be an anomaly, Team USA is vulnerable to a team who plays the way they did today and it could happen again.
Lithuania shot 58.5 percent from the field in the game. Team USA has been playing lineups with LeBron, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony at the four and five positions and that makes them very weak with their interior defense and Lithuania took advantage.
Lithuania is a proud country and was not scared of the U.S. and this is what we saw today. Perhaps Team USA was a little too relaxed coming off two very dominant wins and has not practiced much in the last few days either but they are ultimately a team that is very beatable.
Durant scored 16 points in the game and made four threes but was just 1-for-5 on 2-point shots, an area where he has really kind of struggled in these Olympics.
Russell Westbrook didn’t play his best either scoring seven points and pressing too much with the ball in his hands.
Anthony who was coming off his U.S. Olympic record of 37 points vs. Nigeria came out hot again in this one then cooled down finishing with 20 points and going 2-of-6 from three.
The United States will have one more game to win to wrap up pool play and finish as the top seed from Pool A. They play Argentina Monday which will be the most talented team they have yet to play in the Olympics so far.
This game against Lithuania will serve as a wakeup call for Team USA. We can expect better defensive intensity and fundamentals against Argentina and they should still win.
Team USA will not walk their way to a gold medal. They will have to play very good basketball from this point on beginning with Argentina Monday.