Carmelo Anthony, Team USA Escapes with Win Over Lithuania

Just two days after the best performance in Olympic history, Team USA came closer than they would have liked to being on the wrong hands of one of the biggest upsets in history, narrowly escaping Lithuania 99-94.

In fact, before closing on a 17-6 run that was powered by LeBron James; the Americans found themselves trailing with five minutes left in the game.

James finished with 20 points, finally deciding to take the game over late.

Carmelo Anthony didn’t explode for 37 points in 14 minutes like he did on Thursday against Nigeria, but he did finish tied with LeBron with a team-high 20 points.

Of course that number could have been much higher if he would have gotten the ball more. Anthony did make 7-of-13 shots from the floor, but Lithuania had no answer for him in the post, yet the Americans didn’t feed him the ball regularly, instead elected to continue to throw up bricks from behind the arc, something they have done during three of the four Olympic games.

Linas Kleiza led Lithuania with 25 points and kept them in the game but it wasn’t until a Chris Paul 3-pointer with 5:38 remaining that Team USA took the lead for good.

Then LeBron took over late, scoring eight of his 20 points in the final four minutes to help the Americans remain unbeaten and avoid their first loss in the Olympics since falling to Argentina in the 2004 semifinals. In addition to Anthony’s 20, Kevin Durant also had 16.

The U.S. could never gain control of the game, leading just 55-51 at halftime after a poor defensive effort and allowed Lithuania to shoot 58 percent from the floor in the game.

What nearly killed Team USA is that they chucked up 33 shots from behind the arc, only making 10. In three of their four games, the Americans are only 28-for 83 (33.7 percent) from behind the arc.

Anthony played 25 minutes but fellow New York Knick Tyson Chandler started and played only eight minutes, scoring two points, grabbing one rebound and blocking a shot.

Follow Matt Shetler on Twitter for news, reaction and analysis from around the NBA.

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Topics: 2012 Olympics, Carmelo Anthony, LeBron James, Team USA

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