When Lithuania surprised USA Basketball at the Olympics | Strangest Moments
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When Lithuania surprised USA Basketball at the Olympics | Strangest Moments

August 10, 2019


Dream teams don’t come any more
dreamlike than the Americans who set
foot on the basketball court at the Olympic Games.
A US dominance was already well established by
1992 when they stepped up a gear and sent the professionals along
to the party. A cast of NBA All-Stars arrived
in Barcelona starring Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson,
Charles Barkley, Scottie Pippen and Larry Bird. In ’92 and ’96,
they played 16 games, scored 1,754 points and no-one got within 22
points of them. They were, in a word,
unbeatable. The USA came to the Millennium
Games in Sydney as the hottest of
hot favourites. A squad of NBA superstars
starring Kevin Garnett, three-time All-star, Jason
Kidd, three-time All-star, Alonzo Mourning, five-time All-star, and Vince
Carter, NBA Rookie of the Year. The supporting cast wasn’t
bad either. They were head and shoulders
above all the rest. They brushed aside the old
enemy Russia in the quarterfinals. It brought the United States
team to a semifinal against Lithuania – bronze medallists in Barcelona
and Atlanta, but scarcely household names. None of them played in the NBA, but there was talent on the
roster, including some established
players from top European leagues – Sarunas Jasikevicius of
FC Barcelona, Saulius Stombergas
of TAU Ceramica, and Gintaras Einikis of CSKA
Moscow. But their one true superstar,
Arvydas Sabonis, had retired. Surely they were no match
for the dream team. Nearly 15,000 supporters were in the Sydney Super Dome
for the semifinals. The first half went as
expected, Lithuania struggled. The United States scored at
will. It was business as usual. A three-pointer from Jason Kidd on the buzzer took them to
half-time with the United States
leading 48-36. The second half, however, was a different story. The Lithuanian team re-emerged
reinvented. It was game on. For the next 15 minutes,
the scores were neck and neck. Lithuania scored, the USA
scored. Amazingly, the game was in the
balance deep in the fourth quarter. With only 96 seconds left
on the clock, Alonzo Mourning commissioned a foul, ending his game and
giving Lithuania two free throws. Were the USA about to throw it
away? Sarunas Jasikevicius hadn’t
missed from the line and wouldn’t start now. And Carter drives, he goes up
and is fouled. The basket does not go in. The fouls are going to be
on Stombergas, Carter will shoot too with a
chance to put the US in the lead. Second shot now, 80, 80, and it’s missed, it’s tipped and loose ball
falling down. Everyone’s diving and
Lithuania have it. It was all square going into
the final minute. The clock continued to run down
and the drama only became more frantic. Lithuania missed a
three-pointer but got the foul. It’s a chance for Lithuania to
take control of this game. The upset could be on. But Ramunas Siskauskas missed two out of three
from the line. Vince Carter scored at the
other end and the USA had a one-point
lead. Carter again going for the
basket, over Timinskas and hits
and the US leads by one. Full-court pressure by the US, Garnett knocks the ball
out of bounds and he’s fouled in the rush
for the loose ball. Timinskas, I think, got the
foul. Garnett will shoot two. Garnett at the line shooting
two, US up by one. We have seen a lot of missed
foul shots under the pressure of
the last couple of minutes and Garnett has missed his
first. Second shot, it’s up and missed
and McDyess with the rebound off the glass – US up by three. They need the points quickly,
on the drive, lays it in, a one-point game and they’re
going to have to foul. US up by two, still five
seconds, this jump ball is crucial. McDyess has it,
but there’s a whistle, he’s called for jumping too
soon, Lithuania get the ball. Just time for one shot now, can the Lithuanians, with
a three, beat the dream team? Sarunas Jasikevicius had destiny in his hands as he sprinted full court
and threw for three. And game’s on the line, shot’s up and he has missed it. Heartbreaking for Lithuania. US has dodged a bullet. By a matter of centimetres, the dream team had avoided
infamy. They kept their unbeaten record
by the skin of their teeth but they had been rocked. The Lithuanians were
shellshocked. They left the arena, forced to contemplate
what might have been. They went through to
the bronze-medal match and beat Australia
to stand on the podium. With their authority
undermined, the United States reacted
powerfully in the final. They beat France without
breaking sweat. Another gold medal
for the dream team. Lithuania, however, became
the most heroic of heroic losers. A few agonising centimetres from causing the biggest upset of all time
in the Olympic Games.

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  1. There's only one Dream Team. Lady, USA Basketball got beat in 1987 in the Pan American games by Brazil so that was the first step why USA had to send their pros. 1988 was the second and final time the USA would get beat with college players. USSR and Yugoslavia got gold and silver. This is why USA had to form the Dream Team for 1992 Bird was in his 13th season with a bad back and Magic had Aids and still mopped em up. This 2000 team is no Dream Team. Just some NBA All Stars. Big difference. Only Bird, Magic, Jordan make it a Dream Team so save your marketing, hype and other media non-sense. The world was lucky USA college players got the job done in 1984. The Celtics or the Lakers could have won the Olympics on their own. Lithuania already was good as they split off from the Soviet Union who was great at basketball and beat USA several times. Lithuania has Sarunas Marcillonus and the 7'4" player Sabonis and another guy in the late 80s and early 90s. Lithuania had some of the best players in the world. No need for this dramatic video. Let's face it, the NBA with it's global marketing of television distribution in many countries and merchandise sales, really got basketball players all over the world inspired. Larry Bird, the Boston Celtics and Magic Johnson and the Los Angeles Lakers, made this happen. USSR and Lithuania, Yugoslavia (now Croatia), USA, Brazil with Oscar Schmidt were the best countries in basketball. Bobby Knight was the last USA coach to win with college players in 1984. John Thompson did not pick the best players in 1988. Shaquille O'Neal from LSU and Rex Chapman from Kentucky, the two best college players at that time, did not make the team.

  2. "Wow, remember that time when USA sent all their best basketball players to the olympics?!"
    "You mean like EVERY country does EVERY year in EVERY sport?"

  3. When you have Soviet Sponsored sports…yeah and no it wasn't centimeters it was like 7 inches..that ball didn't even grace the rim.

  4. I'm sure today's Euro teams will beat an all-NBA US team in FIBA Worlds and the Olympics. European ball mostly composed of off-ball play will outlast the US' iso game.

  5. This summer was the best ive seen vince carter play in his career . had he played with the same intensity and anger in the nba as he did in the olympics he would have been one of the best ever

  6. Much love to Lithuania from Greece!A country with less than 3 million population but with so much basketball talent!!!Lithuania is the Basket itself…Respect brothers

  7. That team is not the dream team, there is only one dream team and everyone knows which one is

  8. You can't just throw people together with barely any time to play together and expect them to play to their potential. Amazing that Lithuania managed to stay close but if both teams put their best together and let them play for a year USA would beat them by 30 minimum.

  9. Man, i would have loved to have seen a dream team in early 2000s of
    Kobe
    Shaq
    Duncan
    Garnett
    Carter
    Iverson
    McGrady
    Francis
    Kidd
    J O'Neal
    Webber
    Sheed

  10. Yugoslavia beat USA on world championship in 2002 in Indianapolis 81:78 … I`ll never forget that game !!!

  11. Um…centimeters? The guy air balled it…a few centimeters would have been hitting the outside of the rim as opposed to inside of the rim…

  12. Lithuania surprised the US when Sabonis dunked on Robinson and tossed him like a rag doll and stole his lunch money

  13. It did miss, but it wouldn’t have counted anyways, you can see at 5:24 that it left his hands after time expired.

  14. Lol, that Garnet block was clearly a foul; look at how Garnet pushing and dragging that player behind him. However, ref gave that player a foul call,lol, Ridiculous, and Garnet was just playing dirty as he always does.

  15. I dont think Basketboll should be a Olympics game
    USA have won gold all the time and no other country have been close

  16. Although he is never mentioned Antonio McDyess is one of the biggest heroes in US basketball. If he doesn't get that offensive rebound and put back the US probably gets bronze in this olympics.

  17. No one wants to point out that the clock says 0.0 and the ball hasn’t been released from his hands? They obviously don’t know basketball overseas

  18. Mad respect for Lithuania but he didn’t get it out of his hands in time regardless of whether or not it went in

  19. The narrator calls the Russians the USA's "old enemy" (in reference to their Olympic rivalry with the USSR team) but Lithuania was just as much a part of that "old enemy" as Russia. Lithuania made up less than 2% of the Soviet Union's population but contributed 5 players to its 12-man roster when they won the gold in 1988. The country has always been fanatical about the sport. Lithuanians are born with basketballs in their hands.

  20. 4:19 how the F was that a foul against Lithuania. Should have been a no call or a foul against Garnett if anything.

  21. If —IF——-the Lithuanian player had been able to turn fully, he'd have made that shot. ——–THAT was the edge & difference. ——————————WolfSky9

  22. Well it didn’t even matter if he made the shot to win because he had it in his hands after the buzzer went

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