Home National Teams World Championship 2010 Lithuania beat world champions

Lithuania beat world champions

LithuaniaThe young Lithuanian squad kept their winning record perfect after downing defending champions 76-73. It was the second for Spain in three games so far and the first loss against Lithuania in an official game since Eurobasket 2003 final.

The game started with both teams exchanging several missed shots until Rudy Fernandez opened the scoring for Spain. Only a minute later Simas Jasaitis scored to tie the game at 2. Reigning world champions were more accurate in the first quarter. Lithuania was down 11-22 after the first 10 minutes of play and looked like Spain is starting to pull away.

Marc Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro were the top scorers in the second quarter for Spain but that wasn’t enough to extend their lead. Lithuania managed to reduce their deficit to 8 points before leaving the court for the half time.

The third quarter again showed some signs that it could be the turning point of the game as Spaniards built a comfortable 18-point lead with just 4:13 left to play in the third period. Jonas Maciulis scored 5 points for Lithuania and Martynas Pocius beat the buzzer to finish the quarter. Spain ahead by 9 points.

Lithuanian defence locked Spain’s players in the final period. None of them managed to score for almost 4-and-a-half minutes. Meanwhile Jonas Maciulis made two steals against Rudy Fernandez and finished them with two slam dunks. The signal was sent – this game isn’t over yet. Spain was up by only a single point when Marc Gasol scored two free-throws to open scoring for his team.

From that moment the real thriller started. Martynas Pocius hit a three-pointer to tie the game at 66-66. Marc Gasol and Juan Carlos Navarro score three unanswered points to bring back a 3-point lead for Spain. Then Mantas Kalnietis scored from down town to tie the game again. However, this time Spain had no answer. Linas Kleiza score from the inside the paint to give Lithuania the lead for the first time in the game with 39 seconds left to play.

Marc Gasol was sent to the free-throw line but missed both of his shots. Pocius converted one free-throw for Lithuania and Navarro responded with two free-throws. Linas Kleiza stepped confidently to the free-throw line and made both shots with 6 seconds to play to seal the win for the Baltic Giants.

Lithuania will aim to finish first in Group D and will face France and Lebanon while Spain will try to redeem themselves against Lebanon and Canada.

Score by quarters: 22-11; 21-24; 21-18; 9-23.

Spain: Marc Gasol 18, Juan Carlos Navarro 18, Rudy Fernandez 13, Jorge Garbajosa 11, Alex Mumbru 4, Ricky Rubio 3, Sergio Llull 3.

Lithuania: Linas Kleiza 17, Jonas Maciulis 13, Martynas Pocius 13, Mantas Kalnietis 12, Simas Jasaitis 5, Robertas Javtokas 4, Tomas Delininkaitis 4, Paulius Jankunas 3, Martynas Andriuskevicius 3, Martynas Gecevicius 2.

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