Two days after Team USA scored a blistering 156 points in a record-shattering 83-point win over Nigeria, the mens hoops team barely outlasted Lithuania for a 99-94 win.
Over the past week, the Americans had looked invincible. They won their first three pool games by an average of 52.2 points and played so well that they canceled their last two practices and to support other American Olympic athletes. Few expected their contest against Lithuania to be different.
However, Lithuania's led by Linas Kleiza had different plans.
The tension and drama was palpable inside an arena packed with Lithuania supporters until the closing minutes. There was one team that could not miss and another team that missed a lot, only this time, the Americans went cold.
Fortunately, LeBron James scored nine of his 20 points in the final four minutes for the U.S. (4-0). Carmelo Anthony added 20 points, Kevin Durant 16 and Chris Paul added seven rebounds, six assists and four of the U.S. team's 17 steals.
Team USA basketball survived a scare from Lithuania Saturday, squeaking a 99-94 win with LeBron James leading the way down the stretch. James had 20 points in the game, nine coming in the last four minutes.
The Americans trailed 84-82 with six minutes left and were only up by a point with four minutes remaining. James hit a three to start the late-game run for the Americans.
Carmelo Anthony continued his hot shooting with 20 points off the bench and Kevin Durant had 16 points in the win. Kobe Bryant had a quiet game with only seven points on a 1-7 shooting night, 0-3 from three.
Lithuania isn’t a team that would be intimidated by the Americans. Linas Kleiza and Jonas Valanciunas both are on the Toronto Raptors and the Lithuanian team defeated the Americans at the 2004 Olympics. Kleiza led the Lithuanians with 25 points, and added three assists.
Lithuania out-shot the Americans in every way. They were 58 percent from the field, 7-16 from three and 11-15 from the free throw line. The Americans only shot 44 percent, 10-33 from three and 19-31 from the line.
Less than a month ago, Roger Federer defeated Andy Murray at Centre Court at Wimbledon to win his 17th grand slam. Murray will get a chance to replay that match for a Gold Medal with the backing of the British fans.
Murray defeated Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, 7-5, 7-5, with a ruckus Wimbledon crowd in the stands, and a huge following outside of the building.
The road for Federer was much tougher, defeating Juan Martin del Potro in a match that lasted nearly four and a half hours. The final set alone took over two hours. Federer advanced 3-6, 7-6 (5), 19-17. Luckily for Federer, he wll get a day off Saturday before taking on Murray for the gold.
The women will see the match up most wanted to see in the finals. Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova both won their semifinal matches in two sets and will meet for the gold medal. Sharapova defeated Williams in the Wimbledon finals in 2004.
Michael Phelps won the gold medal in the 100m butterfly Friday. It is Phelps’ 21st career medal and third gold in London. Compared to the hundredth of a second win in Beijing, Phelps had an easy race winning by .23. It’s the third straight time he won the 100m butterfly.
That was likely the last indivudial race Phelps will ever swim. Tomorrow will be Phelps’ last event when he teams up with Ryan Lochte the Men’s 4x100m melody relay.
Missy Franklin took gold in 200m backstroke with a new world record of 2:04.06. Anastasia Zueva took the sliver and another American, Elizabeth Beisel, took the bronze medal.
It was the last race for Franklin.She finishes with four medals: a gold in the 100m backstroke, a bronze in the 4x100 freestyle relay, a gold in the 4x200 freestyle relay, and now a gold in the 200m backstroke.
The defending Beach Volleyball Olympic champions have been eliminated in the round of 16. A young Italian team of Paolo Nicolai and Danlele Lupo upset Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers. Nicolai and Lupo are the No. 15 ranked team in the Olympics. Rogers and Dalhausser lost 2-0, (21-17, 21-19).
At 6 foot 8 inches tall, Nicolai was the answer to 6 foot 9 inch Dalhausser. Nicolai dominated from the start with three blocks and eight kills in the first set. He continued his dominance in the second set and kept the Americans off their game. Dalhausser only had one block in the match that came in the second set. When Dalhausser isn’t getting blocks, they aren’t the same.
Todd Rodgers battled a right hamstring injury he suffered Thursday night. His jumping was especially hampered by the injury. Rogers has said this will be his last Olympics and it’s a bitter way for him to go out.
The American men now pin their hopes on Jake Gibb and Sean Rosenthal who play at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Standard Time on Saturday.