A late run by Lithuania in a game against Bulgaria secured them a spot in the second round and a slim hope of going further in the competition. Andrius Mazutis and Robertas Javtokas were dropped from the starting line up though there were almost no changes on the way that Lithuania played.
Bulgarians did everything to make history and to reach the second round. And for large part of the game they were on the right road. At the beginning of the fourth quarter Bulgaria was behind by just a single point.
Pini Gershon's side managed to equally fight with their opponents' big men taking as much rebounds. Israeli coach said before the game that it would be a miracle if his team would beat Lithuania. However the view on the court was far from that.
Lithuania's head coach Ramunas Butautas who is heavily criticized by the fans let Tomas Delininkaitis play only in the fourth quarter (excluding 1 minute in the first half). Once again the shooting guard who was put in a point guard position managed to turn the game around. Delininkaitis made a couple of assists and scored 5 points himself to put Lithuania in a safer position.
Unlike previous games Delininkaitis was kept on the court and the lead continued to increase. Todor Stoykov missed several three-point shots in a row as Bulgarians were unable to respond to the shots of their opponents.
Eurobasket 2007 bronze medalists recorded their first win as they won the game 84-69.
Lithuanian fans are losing patience with Ramunas Butautas. During the game against Bulgaria they brought a poster with the following quotation "Ramunas, that's not what we agreed!!!" referring to the recent results of the Lithuanian national team.
The team which was put among several favourites to win it all now find themselves in an extremely difficult situation. Lithuania will face Slovenia, Spain and Serbia in the second round and it is likely that they will need all three or at least two wins in order to reach the quarter-finals.
Earl Rowland, Bulgaria:
„We played our best but we still lost this game. Lithuania is a better team than we are. Such an experienced team always knows how to play in this kind of games. They made some big shots in fourth quarter."
Pini Gershon, Bulgaria Coach:
"All three teams were one level better than we were. After two days we had enough power to play 25-30 minutes. My players played their best, but it's not enough for now."
Linas Kleiza, Lithuania:
"We didn't play our best basketball in the first two games. I hope that was the last game in this gym, because we don't like it. With Bulgaria we played our game only in the fourth quarter."
Ramunas Butautas, Lithuania coach:
"We felt big pressure before the game, but my players handled it. I believe in my players, they are can play basketball and I think that in the second round we can do better."
84 – Lithuania – (25+16+16+27): Ksystof Lavrinovic 16, Marijonas Petravicius 13, Simas Jasaitis 11, Linas Kleiza 10, Mindaugas Lukauskis 9, Tomas Delininkaitis 9, Andrius Mazutis 5, Darjus Lavrinovic 4, Arturas Jomantas 4, Robertas Javtokas 3.
69 – Bulgaria – (22+19+15+13): Earl Rowland 18, Todor Stoykov 16, Deyan Ivanov 11, Kaloyan Ivanov 10, Filip Videnov 8, Stefan Georgiev 4, Vassil Evtimov 2.