Olympics Basketball 2012: Lithuania vs. Nigeria Preview

Photo courtesy of everyjoe.com

Lithuanian head coach K. Kemzura has been roundly trounced in the press for his impatience (14 minutes’ PT? – come now!) with the Raps’ Jonas Valanciunas in the game against Argentina. Will Coach give JV some much needed burn against Nigeria? Watch for the big centre to double his minutes against the Africans in order to gain confidence, his own and his coach’s. Jonas needs to score, both in isolation and put-backs, and establish his defensive presence with some blocked shots.

Linas Kleiza opened with a fine game in a losing cause, and will continue his excellent recent play in this match.  If Coach is sharp, he will limit Linas’ minutes to the time necessary to ensure the win.  Don’t be surprised if Linas plays only 20 minutes, with Jonas getting 30 or more, even if Lithuania has a comfortable lead.

The Nigerians have one NBA player, Al-Farouq Aminu, who is hanging on to his big league status with his fingernails.  Ike Diogu was drafted 9th overall in 2005 by Golden State, but never reached the heights expected of him, bounced around a number of teams, and is now playing in China. Those two are the best of the Nigerians, who will be hard pressed on both ends of the floor against Lithuania’s veteran team.

Point differential is important as a tie-breaker in this tournament, so the Lithuanians may run up the score.  Watch for them to break the century mark en route to a 30 point win, with Linas & Jonas scoring more than 40 by themselves.

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. 

Topics: 2012 Olympics, Kleiza, Toronto Raptors, Valanciunas

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  • Jeffrey Thompson

    With such a weak team, the Lithuanians better win this one.

    • http://www.facebook.com/brian.boake.14 Brian Boake

      And win BIG, as the other contenders will as well. Something about running up the score in an Olympic setting bugs me; it seems contrary to the Pledge. I wish there was another way to manage the tournament. Or maybe I’m being overly sentimental…what do you think?

      • mustang

        You just don’t understand the tournament. In NBA it does not matter if you win by 1 or by 50 against another conference team. This makes NBA league “Cirque de Solleil” alike for the first 80 games until real game starts at playoffs. In FIBA’s tournaments in three+ way tiebreaker after head to head the diferential is summed up between the teams. So don’t go bananas when some coach keeps starters in court and takes a timeout when his team is at +28. His team might need +31 to stay in tournament. Just to make sure you understand: if NBA would have been a FIBA like tournament Bobcats would have been free to rest by Valentines day.

        • http://www.facebook.com/brian.boake.14 Brian Boake

          I apologize for this late reply. This comment just showed up today.
          I’m going to mildly disagree with your comment. I do understand the tournament, but I don’t have to like it. The format is irksome, even if I don’t have an alternative. Everyone takes the Olympic pledge, then one nation hammers another.
          Anyway, it worked out. The 2 best teams met for the gold, and the game was terrific.
          Please have a look at my Bargnani profile; I’d appreciate your comments. His is the first of a series we’re doing on each player as training camp approaches.

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