FIBA World Cup 2014 - USA Cruise Past Lithuania to Reach Final -

FIBA World Cup 2014 – USA Cruise Past Lithuania to Reach Final

Team USA became the first team to reach the FIBA World Cup final after easing to a 96-68 victory over Lithuania in the first semi-final in Barcelona on Thursday.

The reigning World champions pulled away in the third quarter with a dominant 33-14 period as they continued their long-standing win streak in competitive internationals.

Kyrie Irving led the way with a team-high 18 points while Klay Thompson and James Harden both added 16 points apiece. Almost half of Lithuania’s points came from the foul line having made 32/42 of their free throw attempts. Jonas Valanciunas also added 15 points on 11/13 FT shooting while Adas Juskevicius netted a perfect 10/10 in his 12 points.

Lithuania made a solid start and led 13-10 at the midway point before going scoreless in the next 3 minutes as USA took the lead with a 8-0 burst containing triples from Irving and Thompson. Ksystof Lavrinovic stopped the rot with a three of his own but Lithuania found themselves down 21-16 at the end of the first.

The lead was pushed out to double figures in the second quarter although the European side did well to keep USA at bay and managed to close back within six points. The difference would remain around that mark for most of the quarter but Irving’s basket in the final minute made it 43-35 to USA.

When play resumed for the second half, USA turned up the heat on their opponents and began the third with a devastating 18-2 run to effectively kill off the game. The lead had ballooned beyond 20 points and there would be no way back for Lithuania, as they headed into the fourth trailing 76-49.

The final quarter was a formality and Lithuania managed to avoid being totally humiliated by keeping the score somewhat respectable with a spirited effort to only lose the quarter 20-19 despite seeing the lead peak at 31 at one stage.

USA march on to the final, as expected, and it will take an almighty effort to stop them now.

Game highlights below.

The second semi-final takes place tonight as France and Serbia square off for a place in Sunday’s final where USA await the winner.

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