Seibutis steers Lithuanians toward USA

Renaldas Seibutis
DELFI / Šarūnas Mažeika

However, they will need to defeat a USA team after the Americans proved no match for Slovenia 119:76.

Jonas Valančiūnas scored the game’s opening four points, however his prominence would be matched by his opponent Emir Preldžić who scored six points in the space of 90 seconds; handing the reigning silver medalists an 18:13 lead at the first break.

The Turkish would have extended their lead had it not been for a Renaldas Seibutis three point shot before the buzzer sounded.

This inspired Darjuš Lavrinovič to shoot an additional three from the same spot in the following quarter; a nine minute period where his nation would score 20:9 and maintain the lead in the first break.

Jonas Mačiulis added onto his nation’s feats from the three point line however fans would be left in shock as the Oğuz Savaş inspired Turkish side scored the next 12 points to claim a narrow lead.

The two nations stood toe to toe in the final minutes, Lithuania stood just that millimeter taller thanks to an impressive Martynas Pocius three point shot set up by the composure of Lavrinovič and Mačiulis.

Lithuania’s captain was also cheered as he landed a kick jump shot one second before the third quarter ended handing Lithuania a 47:44 score line.

Then it was Seibutis’ turn.

Always the bridesmaid and never the bride for the Lithuanian national team, the 29-year-old would shoot the opening goal of the final term after just 18 seconds of action.

He would finish with 11 points for the quarter, including four three throws late in the game, to lead Lithuania with 19 overall and 3 assists as he launched his nation to a 73:61 win.

Initially drafted by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2007 NBA Draft, Seibutis has been sling-shot around the European leagues and, ironically, now represents Darüşşafaka Spor Kulübü; a respective Turkish club.

However fans across the world have faith that the Lithuanian underdog can not only slip into the 2014 FIBA World Cup all tournament team but also take out the MVP award.

I suppose this next match against USA will confirm just that…

Lithuania’s Stats:

Most points:

Renaldas Seibutis (19), Martynas Pocius (13), Jonas Valančiūnas (12), Darjuš Lavrinovič (11).

Most rebounds:

Jonas Valančiūnas (13), Darjuš Lavrinovič (5).

Most assists:

Renaldas Seibutis (3), Martynas Pocius (3).

Team Comparisons:

Biggest lead:

Lithuania 13
Turkey 8

3 points FG:

Lithuania 52.6%
Turkey 16.7%

2 points FG:

Lithuania 43.6%
Turkey 50%

Free Throws:

Lithuania 81.8%
Turkey 70.6%

Blocks:

Lithuania 5
Turkey 5

Turnovers:

Lithuania 15
Turkey 11

Steals:

Lithuania 3
Turkey 8

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