Lithuania Topples Germany; Takes Seventh Place
Lithuania 77, Germany 62
SAITAMA, Japan, Sept. 3 (Ticker) -- Steady play by Darjus Lavrinovic and Linas Kleiza of the Denver Nuggets helped Lithuania end the World Championships on an upbeat note.
Lavrinovic scored 18 points and Kleiza added 16 as Lithuania broke open a close game in the fourth quarter to post a 77-62 triumph over Germany to finish seventh in the tournament.
Bouncing back after consecutive losses to Spain and Turkey, Lithuania (5-4) shot 53 percent (32-of-60) from the floor, forced 25 turnovers and limited Germany (5-4) to just eight points in the final period.
Lithuania took a 30-17 lead after the opening quarter before the Germans gradually clawed their way back. Ademola Okulaja hit a 3-pointer and Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks made a basket to tie the score, 49-49, with 6:17 left in the third period.
The Lithuanians did not panic and scored the next six points. Lavrinovic and Giedruis Gustas nailed baskets and Darius Songaila of the Washington Wizards sank two free throws in the run for a 55-49 edge.
After Nowitzki scored four straight points and Steffen Hamann made 1-of-2 foul shots with 45 seconds left in the third quarter, cutting the deficit to 55-54, Lithuania broke open the contest with an 20-2 burst.
Kleiza opened the spurt with a three-point play. Lavrinovic scored eight points, including a 3-pointer, and Songaila capped the run with five straight points to give Lithuania a 75-56 lead with 2:30 remaining.
Lavrinovic made 7-of-8 shots, including all three attempts from the arc. Kleiza grabbed seven rebounds and Songaila scored 13 points for Lithuania.
Nowitzki scored 18 points and averaged 23.2 for the tournament, trailing only China's Yao Ming of the Houston Rockets (25.3). Okulaja added 10 points for Germany, the 2002 bronze medalist, which lost its third straight contest.