by Ed Easton Jr.
Nine years after the 9/11 terrorist attacks on America, Team U.S.A basketball defeated Lithuania 89 – 74 in their FIBA semifinals match up. Kevin Durant’s 38 points has Team U.S.A one win away from capturing their first World Championship since 1994.
Durant dazzled the fans of Istanbul, shooting 14 for 25 from the field, and seemed unstoppable to a helpless Lithuania team throughout the game. Durant’s 38 points broke the record for most points scored by a Team USA player in a game, surpassing the 35 scored by Carmelo Anthony. Durant, who had a special 9/11 message on his sneakers during the game, raised his tournament scoring average to 22.1 points per game, also a Team USA record.
“May God bless those who were effected by the events on Sept 11, 2001….9-11-01 on my shoes tonight..you guys will watch over us..#teamUSA” said Durant as he took to his twitter account a few hours before tip off.
Durant also got help from his teammates, as Queens, New York product and current Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom recorded a double double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The defensive intensity shown by Andre Iguodala was a catalyst to holding Lithuania’s Linas Kleiza to 4 points on 1-of-11 shooting. Kleiza came into the game averaging 19.1 points per game and was made a target by head coach Mike Krzyzewski and his staff.
“They’re one of the toughest international teams to defend because they put four shooters on the court,” coach Mike Krzyzewski said before the game “So we really have to point and talk. We have to take away transition first, and then make it difficult for them to run their half-court stuff.”
Team USA will finally have a chance at gold in the finals on Sunday and clinch an automatic berth into the 2012 Olympic games in London.