In a dreary affair, Lithuania managed to stumble past Nigeria 72-53. The Balticmen’s balanced scoring was led once again by the Raps’ Linas Kleiza with 13 points, who was 4-6 from inside the arc (but missed both 3’s he tried) and 5-6 from the charity stripe. Linas was used sparingly as expected, with only 23+ minutes of floor time.
Jonas Valanciunas seems to be firmly entrenched in Coach Kemzura’s doghouse. JV played only 11+ minutes, providing 4 points and 3 boards. While he did have 1 blocked shot, his 3 fouls in such a short time did not help his cause.
Lithuania’s shooting was on target from short (22-41), but disappointing from distance (3-13). However that’s downright respectable compared to the Nigerians, whose shooting was…well, I’ll let the stats speak for themselves. 30% on 2-balls looks good only when compared with 1-16, or 6%, from downtown. Completing the picture of a bad day at the office for Nigeria, they managed only 69% from charity, while their opponents were at 90%.
It’s a very good thing for Lithuania that they were playing a weak opponent, because they wouldn’t have beaten anyone else. A 19-point margin is nothing, as Nigeria will be beaten by others by much more than that. If Lithuania is going to find itself as a team, I suggest they organize a search party without delay. The only way to get out of this group, and play for medals, will be to push Argentina & France aside. That won’t happen at this rate.
Lithuania is up against France next, and I’ll preview that game tomorrow.
Brian Boake is a staff writer for Raptors Rapture. “Like” Raptors Rapture on Facebook and follow us on Twitter @RaptorsRapture for all the latest news and updates about the best damn NBA team from Canada.