Lithuania was great in the preliminary round. In fact, so great, nobody would expect (including me). We believed that Lithuania would go to the playoffs, but did not expect that they would do that without a single loss…Wow…
It is difficult to distinguish some clear elements of the game, that Lithuania defeated their opponents with. Our team played without center (Javtokas had problems with his ankle, Andriuskevicius was barely used) almost every game. So, I really like that the coaches believe in their players.
Another important winning factor of Lithuanian team is speed, mostly on the defensive end. Lithuania play without a big guy, so Lithuania can play fast. Lithuania‘s match-up zone defence system also is very interesting. And the third factor is a good teamwork.
Kemzura has shown that Lithuania has no problems in point guard position. Kalnietis & Co looks solid. And our bench players are serious enough. For example, Martynas Pocius was the 12th player on the team, but look, how he plays now! If the 12th player brings so many benefits, what you can think about the whole team? Nothing bad, for sure.
The team has its character – this is great novelty. I don‘t remember any Lithuanian team (club or national), which would be able to eliminate large deficit. Spain will never forget how Lithuania beat them – from minus 18 to plus 3. It was very sweet for us and a very good lesson for them.
In the first playoff Lithuania will face China. At this stage, the opponent could not be more appropriate than the Chinese. We can try to hide the optimism, but it is too obvious.
Lithuania has all the chances to get into the quarterfinals. The minimum plan is made, now we‘ll see look what we can do maximum.
Overall, Lithuanian Basketball Federation (LKF) should be satisfied. This investment (half million fot the ticket to the Turkey) has paid off. If Lithuanians play in the quarterfinals, this investment will be even profitable, speaking about 2011.
Everybody likes a winning team, especially when we talk about money and sponsorship.
Raminta Kaminskaite is the LKL (www.lkl.lt) Press Officer
Photos: Irmantas Sidarevicius