The Baltic side nailed the first eight three-pointers and finished hitting half of their shots from beyond the arc.
- You can check out the moments from the game here.
This victory sent the Lithuanians to the semi-final, a place where the Baltic side had never been to before in the World Championship. The previous best effort was finishing seventh on this stage.
Lithuania didn’t give Argentina any hopes right from the start of the game, dominating right from the first quarter. Kestutis Kemzura’s players sent on three-point bomb after another to open up a 35-22 gap.
Intensive defense was the key for Lithuania’s success as Argentina’s leader Luis Scola was totally shut down by Robertas Javtokas and Paulius Jankunas.
It kept raining three-pointers for Lithuania and the side already had a 32-point advantage at 85-63. There were no doubts about the winner, but Argentina did manage to close the gap a little with full-court pressure in the fourth quarter.
made 12-of-24 three-pointers in the game – the side’s best shooting performance
in the tournament. The starters received a lot of help from the bench, which
led to seven Lithuanian players finishing in double-digits.
Lietuvos rinktinė pataikė 12 tritaškių iš 24. Negana to, Kemzūros kariauna dar kartą patvirtino, kad propaguoja komandinį žaidimą. Net septyni žaidėjai pelnė dviženklį taškų skaičių.
Lithuania: Simas Jasaitis 19, Linas Kleiza 17, Tomas Delininkaitis 16, Martynas Pocius 16, Paulius Jankūnas 12, Mantas Kalnietis 12, Jonas Mačiulis 12.
Argentina: Carlos Delfino 25, Luis Scola 13, Hernan Jasen 11.
Kęstutis Kemzūra (head coach of Lithuania): “We had a great game. That said, we were prepared well both physically and mentally. Perhaps Argentina felt more pressure tonight than we did – they had more to lose than we did. Anyway, they’re a great side with a good coach and experienced players. We thought that we had a longer bench and that was our advantage. We started off the game with aggressive defense, one of the keys was to stop Luis Scola and not to allow him to play pick and roll. I think we did well in this aspect.
I would like to say a good word to our captain Javtokas, who did a massive job on defense, despite not scoring anything himself. We ran our offense well, played with pace even with the opponents changing their strategy after halftime. We were lucky to have made some of the shots.
We’re a small national and our phenomenon is to find the resources, play together and never give up. I’d like to compare the game of basketball to life. Our country had a lot of hard moments, but we survived. You can win against us, but you can’t defeat us. This is a wonderful thing that we can say about our country.
We had many of our players pull out of the World Championship due to many different reasons. The guys were left with a huge challenge at hand and we worked a lot. I had 17-18 guys and the most difficult part of this was to drop someone off.
You can’t imagine how hard it was. All of the players were concentrated the whole way and worked really, really hard. The way how we play is our basketball philosophy. They play the way I understand basketball. Seven players were in double-digits, that’s real basketball for me. We’re just playing as a team and always go all-out for the victory.”