Lithuania plan for this game is quite simple: defend hard and don’t let Italy flow their offense in their usual manner. As for me Italy is probably best matchup for them, first of all because of their weak defense.
Group D was best defensive group and slow paced of Eurobasket with Latvia, Belgium, Czechs playing there. When Lithuania got less defensive minded Georgia they scored 85 points and showed 1.01 pts/poss. Maciulius, however, played game of his life, but J.Kazlauskas is full of talents and such game might be expected from Valanciunas, Kalnietis (sooner or later) and nobody knows when Kuzminskas vulcano will wake up (or anybody else).
As for Italy, everybody know what to expect from them. Gallinari, Belinneli, Gentile, Bargnani – are four players to defend, while others are doing dirty work and help leaders to explode. They shoot well, they play 1-on-1 well but they might fell against organized and physical defense, which is Lithuania trademark under Kazlauskas.
I agree that Italy is favorite here, but it’s only because of talent, not because Italy is so much better team. If Lithuania will improve their offense and involve more players to score points – they might surprise the world with another semifinal stage. And also system points to Lithuania handicap here, because they lost 4 in a row.
Pick: Lithuania +4.5 @ 1.90 Pinnacle