The US managed a 15 point win against Lithuania. My prediction was 9, and it would have been 9 or even closer if not for the US shutting down Linas Klieza, who has had his way with everyone else. Durant also had a monster game with 38 points, and Odom notched a double double (13 pts, 10 rebs). Turkey will present a different set of problems. They have a great perimeter game with Turkoglu leading the offense, and can also dump it inside to Ilyasova or Asik. Ilyasova, a forward for the Milwaukee Bucks, is leading the Turks in scoring at 14.3 ppg, and will probably be the defensive assignment of either Durant or Iguodala. It would make sense for it to be Iguodala, so Durant can be saved for offensive duties. Coach K has been playing his bench liberally, but I would be surprised to see Durant play any less than 35 minutes in the championship game. He has been far and away the best player for the US and whether or not they can win the gold medal depends on how well he performs.
USA (7-0) vs Lithuania (7-0) – WOW. Though I did say Lithuania was better than the 40/1 odds against them to start this tournament, I cannot say that I anticipated them doing this. They just clobbered Argentina, who was a favorite to win this tournament in the eyes of many, and Linas Kleiza is the sole reason why. He showed years ago in Denver that he has the ability to shoot lights out and sometimes take over games coming off the bench, but in this FIBA tournament he has shined as a starter. Through 7 games he is averaging 19 ppg and also leading the Lithuanians in rebounds, as well. It is always strange how seemingly average NBA players take over these tournaments, and Linas has just been one of many to do it.
Here is a breakdown of the teams that have any chance at all of winning the 2010 FIBA World Championship. Rather than attempt to pick the actual team that will win this, I will highlight some of the best odds for placing what could be long shot bets, but could turn out to be the most profitable. Again, I am not suggesting the teams I pick to be good bets to be the best bet to actually win it, but rather the best payout with respect to the odds AND chance of winning.
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