After a narrow 90-86 escape over Brazil, Team USA got back into their winning habits, cruising to a 111-88 win over Lithuania. Seven USA players scored in double-digits: Caremlo Anthony, Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, Kirk Hinrich, Antawn Jamison, and Chris Paul. Lithuanian center Ksistof Lavrinovicius did torch us for 26 points, 18 of them coming in the fourth quarter.
But before we get too excited about this, I have a feeling that this win falls into the same "That Team We Just Beat Wasn't Very Good" category, right next to the wins over Puerto Rico and China. Lithuania is traditionally one of the better basketball nations, but a few of their key guys are taking the summer off, including Pacers guard Sarunas Jasikevicius, who's been a stud for them in international play. And if Lithuania has any real aspirations of winning the whole thing, they're not going to show us much of their repetoire in an exhibition game.
So that puts the Team USA total at 4-0 in exhibition games, with three of them being romps. I feel as cynical as Skip Bayless saying it, but the only one of those results that means anything to me is the one non-blowout. It's still going to be a while before we're playing good teams, with their best players and gameplans attacking us all-out.
Basketball: U.S. crushes Lithuania, 111-88, in worlds tuneup [International Herald Tribune]