In a night to be remembered USA and Turkey got the two tickets to the final which will take place in some hours. USA rolled over Lithuania rather easily taking advantage of their athleticism and, of course, Durant while Turkey snatched a win over Serbia with just a half a second to go!
TURKEY VS SERBIA
It was a breathtaking game till the very end and an instant classic this one. Kerem Tunceri was the hero for the “12 giant men” with his clutch plays during the last quarter but mostly for his basket which gave Turkey the win with half a second to go. This is the biggest success for Turkish team sports of all times, so far.
Surprisingly it was Serbia who started the game better and taking advantage of the home crowd pressure the Turkish players felt took a nice lead, 15-8, after six minutes of play. The home team managed to cover some distance though and the first quarter ended with Serbs leading with just three, 20-17.
The two teams kept close to each other and after five minutes into the second quarter Serbia was leading with the minimum difference, 26-25. At that point Savanovic took his gun and with seven personal points in a row made the score 33-25. The Serbs held on despite the Turkish pressure and headed to the locker rooms at half time leading 42-35.
Led by Turkoglu it took just three and a half minutes for the hosts to tie the game at 46-46 but Serbia pulled away once more with a 8-0 run. With two shots behind the arc by Turkoglu and Arslan Turkey came close again, 56-55 and the third quarter ended with Serbia leading 63-60.
The two teams kept close at fourth quarter until a threepointer by Teodosic gave an eight points lead to Serbia 72-64 with less than six minutes to go. Turkey was not ready to give up though and with a strong defence and inspired defence cut the difference and at one point took the lead after a threepointer by Tunceri, 76-75! While leading 78-77 Asik earned two free throws but faked an injury and instead Arslan took them and made just one for 79-77. Then Turkogu and Teodosic missed behind the arc but Keselj was there to give the lead back to Serbs, 80-79!
Then the most dramatic seconds of the World Championship occurred as Erden with an and one play (missed the free throw though) gave the lead back to Turkey, 81-80. With great passing and movement the Serbs found Velickovic under the basket all alone who put the visitor team in front 82-81 with just four seconds to go. Turkey asked for a time out and after the inbound pass to Turkoglu, the ball somehow ended up in Tunceri’s hand who went for an easy layup with half a second to go. Then it was Serbia’s turn for a timeout and although they managed to attempt a shot with Velickovic his shot was blocked by Erden.
Score by quarters: 17-20, 35-42, 60-63, 83-82
Turkey: Turkoglu 16, Onan 14, Tunceri 12 (5 ass, 4 stl), Arslan 12, Erden 9, Ilyasova 6, Gonlum 6, Asik 5 (7 rbs, 2 blk), Guler 3,
Serbia: Keselj 18 (7 rbs), Savanovic 15, Krstic 15 (7 rbs), Teodosic 13 (11 ass), Velickovic 8, Tepic 5, Rasic 2, Bjelica 2, Markovic 2, Perovic 2, Macvan
USA VS LITHUANIA
USA did not have any time to waste and showed it from the first second and with great offence and tight defence on Lithuanian guards took an early lead which they kept throughout the game. And this is how USA will play in a World Championship final again after 16 years! Of course much of the credit should go to Durant who was literally unstoppable.
Both teams started the game stressfully and missed a lot of shots. Lithuanians tried to take advantage of Javtokas height and strength under the rims but Americans run a lot and Lithuanians could not follow. As a result the first quarter ended 23-12 for USA with Durant managing to reach 17 points.
Lithuanians tried to slash the difference but with a quick run Americans expanded their lead to seventeen points. The first half ended USA leading 42-27 and nothing going in Lithuania’s way and their leader Kleiza having his worst game of the tournament. Only Pocius and Javtokas were really trying out there.
In the second half Lithuanians improved their shooting percentages and with Delininkaitis running the point things got more simple. 59-40 became 65-55 in a couple of minutes which sparked some hopes for the “Green tank”. With the score at 71-60 for USA, Lithuanian missed in three shots behind the arc in a row and lost every hope for a better result.
In the last quarter Durant continued his one-man-show and finished the game having scored 38 points. Final score: 89-74.
Score by quarters: 23-12, 42-27, 65-53, 89-74
USA: Durant 38 (9 rbs), Odom 13 (10 rbs, 3 blk), Westbrook 12, Iguodala 9 (4 to), Love 6, Billups 3, Curry 3, Gordon 3, Gay 2, Rose, Granger, Chandler
Lithuania: Javtokas 15 (9 rbs), Pocius 13, Kalnietis 10 (4 to), Maciulis 9, Delininkaitis 8, Gecevicius 6, Jasaitis 5, Kleiza 4 (4 to), Jankunas 4, Seibutis