It wasn’t pretty, nor was it boring. Despite Lithuania’s incompetence down the stretch, they survive Brazil in their opening match of the 2016 Rio Olympics, winning 82-76.
It was a tale of two halves as the Lithuanians led 58-29 at halftime. However, the Brazilians apparently felt the game started at halftime.
The Oklahoma City Thunder influence, Domantas Sabonis, appeared to have a tale of two halves as well. He played well in the first half, scoring seven points and moving well offensively. He spent a majority of the second half in foul trouble.
Sabonis eventually fouled out with 13 seconds after fouling Marcus Marquinhos on a three-point shot. Brazil cut the Lithuanian lead to 80-76 after the made free throws.
Slowly but surely, the Brazilians chipped away at the lead. They fought and fought. A basket here, a three there and all of a sudden the lead had been trimmed. A 29-point lead for Lithuania had been chopped down to 70-52 after three quarters.
Brazil continued to fight back, going on an 18-2 run before Renaldas Seibutis nailed a three with 6:43 left in the third quarter. It didn’t stop the Brazilians. After Seibutis’s three, Brazil went on another 12-2 run cutting the Lithuanian lead to 75-71 with 2:08 remaining.
Sabonis, despite all of his second half struggles came up with the biggest play of the young Rio Olympics. Sabonis spun into the lead, created contact and hit the and-1, putting Lithuania up 78-71 with 1:19 remaining.
Lithuania will take on Nigeria at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9.
Sabonis seemed to have some Thunder blood in him, fouling on the three, but careless turnovers and bad fouls can be expected out of this rookie, but Lithuania could expect a better performance from the Gonzaga alum on Tuesday.Looking for Oklahoma City Thunder tickets? Thunder Digest has you covered at Totallytickets.com! We invite you to follow Thunder Digest on Twitter and like Thunder Digest on Facebook. Our Podcast is on iTunes. We also have a Thunder Digest Instagram account if you love fun Thunder photography!