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Durant's 38 points carry US to final

 USA's Andre Iguodala, left, celebrates with Kevin Durant after scoring a basket during the semifinal between USA and Lithuania at the World Basketbal...
 The boots of the USA's Kevin Durant bear messages including a reference to the September 11 terrorist attack as he warms up before the semifinal agai...
 The boots of the USA's Kevin Durant bear messages including a reference to the September 11 terrorist attack as he warms up before the semifinal agai...
 USA's Kevin Durant reacts during the semifinal between USA and Lithuania at the World Basketball Championship, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in Istanbul,...

Turkey USA Lithuania Basketball Worlds

USA's Andre Iguodala, left, celebrates with Kevin Durant after scoring a basket during the semifinal between USA and Lithuania at the World Basketbal...

Turkey Lithuania USA Basketball Worlds

The boots of the USA's Kevin Durant bear messages including a reference to the September 11 terrorist attack as he warms up before the semifinal agai...

Turkey Lithuania USA Basketball Worlds

The boots of the USA's Kevin Durant bear messages including a reference to the September 11 terrorist attack as he warms up before the semifinal agai...

Turkey Lithuania USA Basketball Worlds

USA's Kevin Durant reacts during the semifinal between USA and Lithuania at the World Basketball Championship, Saturday, Sept. 11, 2010, in Istanbul,...

Kevin Durant carried the United States into the final at the world basketball championship in scoring a U.S.-record 38 points while beating Lithuania 89-74 on Saturday.
With a special Sept. 11 anniversary message on his sneakers, Durant soared over defenders or stepped away from them for 3-pointers, scoring 17 in the first quarter to stake the Americans to an early lead that was never seriously challenged.
He went on to surpass Carmelo Anthony's single-game record of 35 points and raise his average in the tournament to 22.1, which would be the best ever by a U.S. player.
More importantly, he guaranteed the Americans a chance at their first world title since 1994. They will play Turkey or Serbia on Sunday.
There was some doubt this U.S. team was the one that could end the drought after all the superstars from the 2008 Olympic gold medalists declined to play this summer. But Durant kept saying yes, and he's on the verge of going down as the most accomplished U.S. player ever in this event.
Lamar Odom added 13 points and 10 rebounds, while Andre Iguodala led the defensive effort that took Lithuania star Linas Kleiza right out of the game.
Robertas Javtokas had 15 points and nine rebounds for Lithuania, which lost for the first time and will play for bronze. Kleiza, who was averaging 19.1 points, was limited to four on 1-of-11 shooting.
Durant posted a message on his Twitter page on Saturday that read: "May God bless those who were effected by the events on Sept 11, 2001....9-11-01 on my shoes tonight..you guys will watch over us.."
Then he went out and dominated the first quarter, shooting at the basket in front of section 324, which was completely awash in Lithuania green and had fans banging drums and waving flags.
The teams met last month in an exhibition game in Madrid, and the U.S. shot just 3 of 21 in the first quarter before rallying for a 77-61 victory. There would be no slow start this time.
Lithuania led by two midway through the first quarter before Durant seized the game, showing off his entire repertoire. First there was a dunk, followed by a three-point play and two free throws. Iguodala briefly interrupted the Durant show with a dunk, then Durant scored on a follow shot and made a 3-pointer.
In just 3 1/2 minutes, he had taken the U.S. from down two to up 10, and Lithuania never really recovered.


Updated : 2021-03-04 08:31 GMT+08:00