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Sunday, August 13, 2006

Team USA Rolls to a 111-88 Win Versus Lithuania

Carmelo Anthony, showing no ill effects from the hyperextended knee that he suffered in the previous game, led the U.S. with 19 points in a 111-88 exhibition game win versus Lithuania. Anthony had 9 of the first 19 U.S. points, helping the team jump out to a 29-11 first quarter lead. Seven U.S. players scored in double figures. Coach Mike Krzyzewski stayed true to his plan to give various players an opportunity to start; this time, the U.S. opened with Carmelo Anthony, Shane Battier, Elton Brand, Kirk Hinrich and Dwyane Wade.

The U.S forced 18 turnovers and held Lithuania to 5-17 three point shooting (.294). Ksistof Lavrinovic led Lithuania with 26 points. NBA veterans Darius Songaila (9 points) and Linas Kleiza (8 points) are also on the team, but Indiana Pacer Sarunas Jasikevicius, who has hurt the U.S. in the past with his three point shooting, is not playing for the Lithuanian squad this summer. Top players Silius Strombergas and Ramonas Siskauskas are also not with the team, so this was not the same Lithuanian unit that has been a strong medal contender in past years.

Anthony is only tied for fourth on the team in minutes played--in part because of the time he missed with the injury--but he is the squad's scoring leader at 17.8 ppg. The other players averaging at least 10 ppg on the exhibition tour are LeBron James (14.0 ppg), Dwyane Wade (11.0 ppg), Antawn Jamison (10.3 ppg) and Joe Johnson (10.3 ppg). Dwight Howard is the top rebounder by far, leading a balanced effort on the boards with 5.8 rpg. Wade (4.5 apg) and Chris Paul (4.3 apg) are the runaway assists leaders.

While the U.S. has outscored the opposition 108.5 ppg to 79.0 ppg, they are enjoying only a slight 33.0 to 31.8 rpg advantage on the glass. The U.S. is shooting better from the field (.512 to .424) and the three point arc (.405 to .310) than their opponents, who do have the edge from the free throw line in attempts, makes and percentage (.790 to .748). The U.S. has more steals, more blocked shots and far fewer turnovers than their opponents.

posted by David Friedman @ 1:24 PM

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