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U.S. Holds Off Lithuania, 85-76

September 21, 2000|ROBYN NORWOOD | Associated Press

Call it the Bad Dream Team.

The U.S. men's basketball won today by its smallest margin in the three Olympics since NBA players began participating, defeating Lithuania, 85-76, in front of 8,391 at the Dome in Sydney.

The previous closest game was a 22-point victory over Lithuania in 1996.

Lithuania, even without its great stars of the past, had a chance to cut the lead to three with 1:09 left, but Eurelijus Zukauskas missed two free throws.

Another piece of history: It was the lowest scoring game by the U.S. in the history of the so-called Dream Teams by two points.

The U.S. trailed in the second half for the first time in the NBA era, falling behind by one point a little more than three minutes into the half on a shot by Ramunas Siskauskas.

The U.S. overcame a dismal shooting performance--making only 35.7% of its shots, going a dismal 25-for-70.

Even more astounding, the shooting percentage from two-point range in the first-half was only 28.6%, 36.5% for the game.

Gary Payton had 14 points and Vince Carter overcame a one-for-six first half and at least one missed dunk to finish with 12, scoring six of the final eight points and dunking to break a long drought.

Darius Songalia scored 16 points for Lithuania.

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