U.S. Men’s Basketball: Team USA Escapes Upset, Beats Lithuania 99-94

After an incredibly dominant performance against Nigeria, the U.S. Men’s Basketball team looked unbeatable. But last night the Lithuanian Olympic team gave the Americans a reality check with a thrilling game that came down to the final minutes.

The Lithuanian Team kept pace with the Americans for the entire game. The two Olympic teams traded the lead several times during the game and with less than six minutes left in the game it looked like Lithuania would be able to serve up an incredible upset. But the U.S. Men’s Basketball team was able to pull it together in the final minutes to beat Lithuania 99-94.

ESPN reports that Lebron James put in eight of his 20 points in the final four minutes of the game. Carmelo Anthony also put in 20 points against Lithuania and Kevin Durant added 16.

So what happened? How did the U.S. Men’s Basketball team go from beating Nigeria by 83 points with a record setting 156 points to barely squeezing by Lithuania?

Kevin Negandhi of ESPN put the blame on the shoulders of a player who wasn’t even there: Dwight Howard. The USA Team had several NBA players who had to pull out of the Olympics due to injury, but the absence of Dwight Howard is leaving the biggest hole in the American’s roster.

Matt Moore, a sports blogger with CBS, writes that the game was close solely because of an extraordinary effort by the Lithuanian team.

Did you watch the U.S. Men’s Basketball game against Lithuania? Do you think Team USA is destined for gold at the 2012 London Olympics?