Saturday, August 04, 2012

USA Basketball Edges Lithuania: LeBron James Holds Off Upset At London Olympics (PHOTOS)

Lithuania Usa
USA's Kevin Love, right, and Lithuania's Simas Jasaitis hit the floor as they battle for a loose ball during a men's basketball game at the 2012 Summer Olympics, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012, in London. (AP Photo/Charles Krupa)  

LONDON — When the moment arrived, the Americans responded.

They're still unbeaten, but no longer untested.

Pushed to the max by a fearless Lithuanian team smelling a world-shaking Olympic upset, the U.S. collection of basketball superstars united as one.

And LeBron James led the way.

Two days after running and gunning to a record-shattering 83-point win, the U.S. was forced to play a possession-for-possession game in the fourth quarter in a 99-94 win over Lithuania.

The Americans were in serious trouble until James – in his third Olympics – stepped up in the closing minutes.

"It was like LeBron said, 'I got this, I'm doing this," U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said.
James scored 9 his 20 points in the final four minutes for the U.S. (4-0), which had looked nearly invincible in thrashing Nigeria 156-73 on Thursday night while breaking several records. But the Americans were reminded that the path to a gold medal is loaded with traps and Lithuania nearly sprang one.

"You want to get tested," James said. "The best teams want to be tested. We love the competition. We've got some of the greatest competitors in our league, in this world, so you want to have a game where you feel like you were tested, and we had that today."

And then some.

The U.S. trailed by two points with under six minutes left before using a 15-4 run to put away Lithuania (1-3), which was seeking to duplicate its stunning win over the Americans in 2004 win at Athens, when the U.S. program dropped to its low point after decades of dominance.

However, James, who was an Olympic rookie eight years ago, refused to allow it.


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