NBA.com: Lithuania Leftovers

NBA.com: Lithuania Leftovers

Postby JSM on Fri Aug 01, 2008 4:18 pm

John Schuhmann of NBA.com wrote:Here's tonight's game story. This one was a good test for the U.S., in many ways. And they passed it.

Of course, it was interesting that Linas Kleiza only played 15 minutes. I'd say the same about Sarunas Jasikevicious' 24 minutes, except that he was horrible (thanks in part to Kobe's D) tonight, so resting him is easier explained.

Darius Songaila is apparently back in Washington with a bad back. From what I hear, he's questionable for the Olympics.

But was Lithuania holding back, trying to make the Americans overconfident? We shall see in a couple of weeks. These two teams won't play in the preliminary round in Beijing, but they could certainly meet in the elimination round.

Kobe: "If we're fortunate enough, this could be a gold medal matchup."

************

More thoughts from our last night in Macao...

I know it's not 1992 anymore and these guys aren't asking the U.S. team for autographs, but I did sense a hint of awe when a few of the younger Lithuanian players walked out onto the floor for pre-game shooting and saw Kobe Bryant shooting on the other end.

************

The Lituanian team wears Nike uniforms, and there's a swoosh near the top of their shorts, but they also have a huge Samsung logo running up and down the right leg. And on the left leg, there's a big, oval-shaped logo with the word "NAFTA" underneath it.

I saw this and thought, "NAFTA? Why in the world would the Lithuanian basketball team be sponsored by the North American Free Trade Agreement?"

Then, for a second, I thought, "Well, they partnered with the Grateful Dead in '92 and '96. Maybe they're just an unconventional sort."

But with a little digging, I realized that NAFTA is the name of a Lithuanian oil company. Mystery solved.

************

Lithuanian big man, Robertas Javtokas, has a Jordan jumpman logo tattoo just above his sock on his right leg. First time I've seen that.

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I love the way they deliver the game ball here in Macao. The Fan Patrol lines up in the corner of the court as if for player introductions, and then a guy in a DHL uniform with a delivery box sprints from the tunnel, through the Fan Patrol to center court, where he opens up the box and the refs remove the game ball.

Classy.

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I mentioned it in the game story, but the points in the paint numbers really stick out: USA 70, Lithuania 24. I believe the phrase "controlling the paint" applies here.

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The point guard situation is starting to get really interesting. Jason Kidd played just 10:51 tonight, two 5 1/2 minute stints at the beginning of each half. I thought he played pretty well in the first quarter. He was active, picking up a steal and two assists.

But when the opponent plays zone, Kidd could be a liability. (Of course, Turkey didn't play zone, and Kidd only played 12 minutes on Thursday.)

And Chris Paul and Deron Williams have both played very well. D-Will sliced and bullied through that zone easily tonight, getting to the cup (he had six points and a pair of missed free throws) or creating an open shot for his teammates (seven dimes).

I love Kidd's veteran presence on the floor, but the kids are showing that they aren't kids anymore.

************

Dwyane Wade once again had the highlight of the night, a sick windmill off a CP13 alley-oop on the break early in the fourth quarter. And he started that break by stripping Ramunas Siskauskas up top on the other end.

'Melo: "He's back! That's all I can say. He's back."

Yes, indeed.

************

The U.S. bench seemed to get just as excited for Paul's dunk late in the fourth. I guess they're not used to seeing CP13 throw it down.

Dwight: "I've seen him dunk before."

Are you sure? Because it looks like you had your eyes closed...

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Postby puffyusaf#2 on Fri Aug 01, 2008 6:18 pm

That Howard line is funny as hell
For what it's worth, the Lakers also clinched the Pacific Division, an achievement Bryant dismissed by saying "We don't hang divisions." No, only the big NBA championship banners are considered wall-worthy for the Lakers.
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