The United States is back in the 2010 FIBA World Championships Gold Medal Game. Team USA beat Lithuania on Saturday, and will now play for the Gold Medal on Sunday. The semifinals at the 2010 FIBA World Championships played out Saturday, and it turned out much better than last time for Team USA. In the 2008 World Championships, the United States fell in the semifinals to Greece, allowing Spain to ultimately win the Gold Medal that year. Spain was eliminated in the quarterfinals this year though, and now the road has been paved for the United States to win it all.
The United States will play the winner of the Serbia vs. Turkey semifinal game on Sunday night, and the newest FIBA World Champion will be crowned. By just making it to the Gold Medal game, Team USA has regained the No. 1 ranking in the world. That spot was held by Argentina coming into the tournament, and the United States had been just behind them in the No. 2 spot. Now the United States will have Gold Medal games in the 2008 Olympics and the 2010 FIBA World Championships on their most recent resume, giving them enough points in the rankings to take over the No. 1 spot.
Some might say that it looked more like Kevin Durant vs. Lithuania on Saturday than all of Team USA, as Durant set a new record for points scored by a United States player. Durant went 14-25 from the field and hit nine free throws on his way to 38 points on Saturday. He also corralled nine rebounds in 38 minutes of play, showing that the coaches really felt they needed him on the floor for nearly the whole game. Lamar Odom went for a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds to help the cause, while Russell Westbrook ended up playing the point guard spot for a majority of the game.
The United States beat Lithuania 89-74, which in itself shows how far this Lithuanian team has come in the world of basketball. Lithuania still has a shot at the Bronze Medal on Sunday, so they could still leave the tournament with third place points and a very impressive showing for the country. Meanwhile Team USA has their sights set much higher, as they are now just one game away from taking home the FIBA World Championship for the first time in quite a few years. Can they do it? The game will play out on Sunday, September 12.