D Tigers declawed
Lithuania refused to lose to Nigeria for the second time in six weeks. Rather the Baltic Giants suffocated the upstart West Africans and prevented them from ever finding their true rhythm and simply ran away with the game 72-53.
The two teams stayed fairly close in the first half, but Nigeria’s inability to knock down jumpers-making just one of their 16 three-point attempts-eventually did them in as they were unable to recapture the magic that allowed them to defeat Lithuania (and subsequently earn their Olympic berth) at last month’s qualifying tournament in Venezuela.
This time around it was the Europeans NBA stars that made the difference. Toronto Raptors forward Linas Kleiza led a balanced scoring effort with 13 points and six rebounds while teammate Darius Songaila, a silent dagger for majority of his eight NBA seasons spent with five different teams, scored 12 points. Rounded out by Rimantas Kaukenas, a Euroleague veteran who added 10 points Lithuania now improved to 2-0 in the group.
Lithuania’s next match will be against France on Thursday morning whereas Nigeria faces another difficult match against unbeaten and much fancied Kobe Bryant and friends on Thursday night.