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USA vs. Lithuania 2014 FIBA World Cup Basketball Semifinal – Prediction and Betting Preview –

USA vs. Lithuania 2014 FIBA World Cup Basketball Semifinal – Prediction and Betting Preview –

The United States are on the verge of another FIBA World Cup final after dismantling Slovenia in the quarterfinal round. The Americans will have one more obstacle to hurdle, though, in the form of Lithuania, who overcame Turkey to set up a semifinal rematch with the defending champions.

Can Mike Krzyzewski lead Team U.S.A. to another finals appearance? Or will Lithuania score a giant upset? Read on for a complete preview of this final four showdown and while you’re at it, you can check out our 2014 FIBA World Cup tournament preview here. The winner of this game will play the winner of France vs. Serbia, two teams that have shown a lot of promise in this tournament.

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United States vs. Lithuania, FIBA World Cup 2014 Semifinal Betting Preview

When: Thursday, September 11, 3:00 PM ET

Where: Barcelona, Spain

Line: United States vs. Lithuania – see all 2014 FIBA World Cup lines

Betting on the U.S.A.

The United States looks to be in excellent form heading into the final four after a masterful 119-76 demolition of Slovenia in the quarterfinals. Six Americans tallied at least 12 points in the quarters, with Klay Thompson the leading scorer with 20 points as the U.S.A. advanced to their third-consecutive World Cup semifinal.

[sc:Other240banner ]There were some anxious moments, however, as the Americans struggled to make their shots in the early going. In fact, they missed 10 of their first 11 attempts as key gunners James Harden and Stephen Curry found it difficult to nail their outside jumpers. The duo missed all of their 12 shots in the first half as the U.S.A. entered the halftime break with a slim seven-point advantage.

The Americans’ size and athleticism were simply too much for the Slovenians in the second half however, as the Americans coasted to a lopsided win.

They will next face Lithuania in the semifinals which is a rematch of their final four clash four years ago. Kevin Durant was the star of the show in that game as he single-handedly towed the Americans to an 89-74 win. His 38 points set an American scoring record for the world championships, breaking Carmelo Anthony’s mark of 35.

Through seven games in this year’s World Cup, the Americans have demonstrated their offensive brilliance, leading the tournament in scoring with a 102.3 points per game average. That’s 14 points more than the second-ranked Spain.

The one thing that can derail the Americans is if they take the Lithuanians for granted with the prospect of their possible championship clash with hosts Spain already looming in their heads. Mike Krzyzewski knows this well after his star-studded squad bannered by LeBron James was upset in the semifinals by Greece in the same tournament eight years ago.

The Americans are 7-1 in their last eight meetings with Lithuania dating back to 1992.

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Betting on Lithuania

Jonas Valanciunas

Lithuania overcame a poor start to defeat Turkey, 73-61, to book their place in the semifinals of the FIBA World Cup. Renaldas Seibutis was the hero for Lithuania as he scored 11 of his game-high 19 points in the fourth quarter to outlast the Turks and set up the much-anticipated rematch with the United States.

In a game that featured two quality NBA big men in Lithuania’s Jonas Valanciunas and Turkey’s Omer Asik, it was outside shooting that determined the outcome of the match. Lithuania was lights out from beyond the arc, knocking down 10-of-19 attempts as they outgunned the Turks who finished with just 3-of-18 shooting from the three-point area.

In fact, Lithuania has relied on their outside sniping to progress this far in the tournament. Through seven games, the Lithuanians have buried 54 out of 135 three-point attempts for an impressive 40 percent clip, the best mark among the remaining World Cup teams.

The Lithuanians may be the underdogs when they face the United States in the semis but the European squad is playing some excellent basketball at the moment as well. They have won six of their seven games in the tournament so far and dominated Group D in the group stages.

They will also take heart in the fact that they almost beat the Americans in their last meeting. They lost to Team U.S.A. by just five points, 99-94, in the 2012 Olympics and they know that that American team was way stronger than the one that they will face next game.

If they are to pull off the upset against the Americans, though, Lithuania must limit the rebounding of U.S.A. The Americans have dominated the boards in this World Cup, racking up a tournament-best average of 44.1 boards per game through seven outings so far.

Lithuania, on the other hand, is only ranked 13th in the rebounding department, averaging 34.9 a game. The onus then is on Toronto Raptors center Jonas Valenciunas and Houston Rockets forward Donatas Motiejunas to hold their own against the American frontline. If they can impose their will down low and prevent the U.S. from scoring second chance points, the Lithuanians have a fighting chance of reaching the championship match.

Lithuania is one of a handful of teams that have successfully beaten the U.S.A. in the world basketball stage. They defeated the U.S. 94-90 in the 2004 Olympics.

Writer’s Prediction

The U.S.A. cruise to their second consecutive FIBA World Cup final, but Lithuania keeps it interesting and covers.

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Written by Joel

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