2014 FIBA World Cup Semifinals, Day 1
The United States of America returned to the FIBA Basketball World Cup final by thrashing Lithuania 96-68 in the first semifinal at Palau Sant Jordi, Barcelona on Thursday.
USA will face the winner of Friday’s semifinal in Madrid between Serbia and France in the gold-medal game on Sunday at Barclaycard Arena in the Spanish capital. The loser of Friday’s semifinal will face Lithuania in the bronze-medal game on Saturday.
The 2014 FIBA Basketball World Cup winner will automatically book a spot in the 2016 Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. USA has the chance to win the tournament for the fifth time; it previously lifted the trophy in 1954, 1986, 1994 and 2010.
It can also become just the second team to successfully defend the World Cup in over five decades – something only Yugoslavia (1998-2002) has done in that time. Lithuania already won bronze in 2010, its first-ever World Cup medal, and will try to get it again on Saturday.
Kyrie Irving led the American attack with 18 points, Klay Thompson and James Harden scored 16 points apiece and Stephen Curry added 13 for the winners. Mindaugas Kuzminskas of Unicaja Malaga and former Eurocup Rising Star Jonas Valanciunas paced Lithuania with 15 points each, Adas Juskevicius of Lietuvos Rytas Vilnius scored 12 and Martynas Pocius of Galatasaray Liv Hospital Istanbul had 10 in defeat.