Today Team USA took care of Lithuania to earn a spot in tomorrow’s Final (ESPN, 12:30PM CST). The US looked solid throughout the game, avoiding their usual first quarter slump. Lithuania held tough most of the game, but Team USA managed to pull away in the fourth for a convincing victory. Derrick Rose picked right up from his weak display against Mother Russia, putting in some unconvincing work early in the first quarter and getting little playing time afterward (12 minutes total). Was this a matchup problem that Coach K saw or just Rose being ineffective? Despite going 0-4 from the field, Rose seemed to be playing the point well. It is possible that after the Soviet game, Coach K had Rose on a short leash and his couple of ill advised shots was enough to lank him.
Regardless, Team USA has a Final tomorrow against the host nation, Turkey. It should be a great game, as Turkey will be backed up by a raucous home crowd. Also, Turkey has a deadly weapon in Chicago Bulls Rookie Ömer Aşik. Team USA has yet to feature a different starting lineup in this tournament, but will the shaky play of Rose break that streak for the last game? Stay tuned.
Cannery Casino odds for the Chicago Bulls to win the 2011 NBA Championship: 16-1