Behind Kevin Durant's 33 points, Team USA had advanced to another round, defeating Russia 89-79. While Durant led the offensive charge, it was the defense that keyed the Americans' victory. Their goals were to hold Andrey Vorontsevich, Sasha Kaun and Timofey Mozgov, Russia's frontcourt trio in check, and the undersized US team did so. Although Vorontsevich scored 14 points, he did so on 4-of-9 shooting, while Kaun, the other starter, collected just 4 points and was largely ineffective. Russia went to Mozgov early off the bench and he responded with 13 points, but couldn't contain the Americans on the defensive end. Anton Ponkrashov, a Russian guard, was another key player the U.S. needed to defend and he was held without a field goal and finished with three points, all from the foul line. Sergey Monya, the last Russian the Americans gameplanned against with his lethal outside shot, was frustrated by the length and athleticism, hitting just one shot from the field of his seven attempts.
The U.S. will need similar defensive intensity and a streak of offense to take down Lithuania on Saturday. The first time these teams met just weeks ago in an exhibition match, the US missed 23 of their first 26 shots.
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Lithuania 104 - Argentina 85
In a widely anticipated game, Lithuania remained unbeaten after taking down Luis Scola and Argentina 104-85. Scola was held to his worst game of the world championships where he scored just 13 points and collected four rebounds; he was 5-of-16 from the field. Carlos Delfino had perhaps his best game of the tournament, scoring 25 points on 50% shooting from the field, despite being 1-for-6 from 3-point range. The team as a whole was 4-of-21 from beyond the arc (19%).
Lithuania's overall talent and depth and early 3-point shooting gave them the lead where they never looked back. Simas Jasaitis led Lithuania with 19 points, while Linas Kleiza was second on the team in scoring with 17 points and had a game-high 9 rebounds. Five other players hit double-figures, including three reserves.