Russell Westbrook named player of game as USA beats Lithuania
Thunder forward Kevin Durant scored a team-high 15 points for the United States.
MADRID — Kevin Durant scored 15 points and the United States overcame a poor shooting start and early nerves to beat Lithuania 77-61 Saturday in a warmup for the basketball world championship.
The U.S. trailed 15-7 after shooting 3 of 21 and making six turnovers in the first period.
The Americans regained their composure against an equally poor-shooting opponent, taking the lead for good at 54-49 after Lithuania was assessed a technical foul and flagrant foul by Mantas Kalnietis near the end of the third period. It was part of a 17-0 U.S. run led by Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon.
"I thought we were a little tight and they played well defensively," coach Mike Krzyzewski said from the "Magic Box" center.
Linas Kleiza scored 12 points for Lithuania, which hit 25 of 62 shots to the Americans' 27-of-58 shooting.
Durant, Rajon Rondo, Chauncey Billups, Andre Iguodala and Tyson Chandler started as expected against Lithuania, which was coming off a 94-75 loss to Spain on Friday. The U.S. had won its only previous exhibition, against France.
The inexperienced Americans showed their nerves early under Lithuanian pressure, and it took Rudy Gay's entry to spark the U.S. But it was the play of Westbrook and Gordon in the third quarter that gave the U.S. the cushion it needed. Gay finished with 14 points and five rebounds, and Gordon added nine points.
"I thought (Derrick) Rose, Gordon and Gay really picked us up," Krzyzewski said. "But you have to have that energy at the start of a ballgame, we have to start out strong."
Gay ended Lithuania's 6-0 run, with the Memphis Grizzlies forward scoring from the right before blocking Paulius Jankunas' one-handed slam attempt.