Until today we haven’t seen too much hoop that resembles NBA ball at the games in London. After Team USA’s obliteration of Nigeria it looked like we might not see any Olympic hoop that even resemble a preseason NBA game.
No real surprise the Lithuanians would put the first scare of 2012 into the best basketball team on the planet. No other country has had the success against the U.S. that Lithuania has.
As late as halfway through the 4th quarter Lithuania had the lead thanks to a big three from former Nugget Linas Kleiza. Kleiza killed it scoring a game-best 25. He was the only member of his team to hit double figures but make no mistake this team attacked from every angle.
It was a complete role reversal for Team USA. As hot as they were against Nigeria the U.S. was equally cold vs. Lithuania. Kobe Bryant was the poster of U.S. hoops today. Settling for jumpers all game long KB10 scored just 6 on an ugly 1 of 7 shooting effort. As a team the U.S. shot 45% from the field compared to Lithuania’s sick 58%.
So with Team USA needing a lift something scary happened. Something that should make the entire world deathly afraid.
LeBron James went Kobe and took the game over.
King James is showing something we all knew was there but he was afraid to embrace – a cold blooded killer.
James ripped the heart from whatever hopes of victory Lithuania had. He shot from deep, drove the ball and threw down a nasty dunk in transition.
Before you knew it the game was over.
Team USA remains perfect thanks to an entertaining and hard fought 99-94 win. While LeBron James shows his mettle as the best hoops talent on the planet.
As you might expect it took some encouragement for James to go for his. For most of the game Carmelo Anthony carried his country. Melo was the only man that continued his form from the Nigeria slaughter. He and James shared team-honors with 20 a piece.
With Argentina up next for the U.S. it was important to get a little pressure applied from an opponent. The competition is going to start getting much better so a test of the Lithuania type is welcomed. If nothing else it was nice to finally watch a truly competitive game played by two very skilled and well-coached teams in an Olympic setting. Today is about as close as you’ll come to an NBA game in London. And for the sake of the NBA let’s hope LeBron doesn’t continue to embrace his inner-Kobe. That’s bad news for Bryant’s Jordan chase.