USA stops Lithuania in FIBA world championship semifinal

Update: Once again, Team USA's Kevin Durant was the show. He scored 38 points as the U.S. defeated Lithuania 89-74 in the semifinals of the FIBA world championship in Istanbul.

Durant also had nine rebounds. Lamar Odom had another solid effort with 13 points and 10 rebounds. Russell Westbrook had 12 points and seven rebounds off the bench, and Andre Iguodala had nine points and four rebounds. But Iguodala's main contribution came on the defensive end where he, along with help, limited Lithuania's Linas Kleiza to four points on 1-of-11 shooting.

Earlier: In 1992, Lithuania was not only a fledgling basketball nation, it was a fledgling nation, just two years removed from declaring its independence from the Soviet Union.

It needed financial assistance, and the Grateful Dead helped sponsor the team and a classic tie-dye shirt -- a skeleton in a Lithuanian jersey -- became the prized possession of Deadheads and basketball fans in 1992. With Arvydas Sabonis and Sarunas Marciulionis on the team, Lithuania won bronze at the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Since then, Lithuania has been a formidable international team, winning bronze medals at the 1996 Atlanta Games and 2000 Sydney Games. It also won the gold at the 2003 EuroBasket tournament.

The U.S. and Lithuania, which play in the FIBA world championship semifinals Saturday at noon ET, have a history, too. At those 2000 Games, the USA beat Lithuania 85-83 in the semifinals. Sarunas Jasikevicius' three-pointer attempt at the buzzer did not go in.

At the 2004 Athens Games, Lithuania beat the USA 94-90 in group play but lost to the Americans 104-96 in the bronze-medal game.

It should be a good game. Lithuania is coming off an impressive victory against Argentina, and the USA handled the challenge from Russia.

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