Los Angeles Lakers stud Austin Reaves and the rest of Team USA suffered a totally unexpected defeat at the hands of Lithuania in the group stage of the FIBA World Cup. It’s a good thing it was pretty much a non-bearing game with the Americans coming into the game having already secured their spot in the quarter-finals.
Be that as it may, there’s still no denying that it was an embarrassing loss for Team USA. For his part, Reaves was on the wrong end of a savage moment against Lithuania — one that pretty much epitomized the Americans’ performance in the shock loss.
Los Angeles Lakers Guard Austin Reaves Sounds Off on Lithuania Loss
After amassing a 21-point lead early on, Jonas Valanciunas and the rest of the Lithuanian squad held on to secure a 110-104 victory against Team USA. The Americans, led by a 35-point explosion by Minnesota Timberwolves superstar Anthony Edwards, mounted a formidable comeback, which unfortunately, came up short.
After the game, Reaves admitted that Team USA knew what their opponents were capable of:
“I mean, going into the game we knew that they were a confident club and we knew that they were capable of beating us,” Reaves said on Monday, via Joe Vardon of The Athletic.
Clearly, the Americans did not take the threat as seriously as they should have.
Austin Reaves’ Viral Moment Vs. Lithuania
Austin Reaves made headlines for all the wrong reasons as Team USA fell to Lithuania. Their opponents targeted the Lakers guard by exposing his rather lackluster defense against a bigger man. Lithuania player Vaidas Kariniauskas scored an and-1 basket over Reaves in the post, and the former decided to give the American a bit of savagery:
Austin Reaves getting absolutely destroyed by a Lithuanian player is the funniest thing you’ll see today 💀
Dude showed him the tongue 😭 pic.twitter.com/XewaeN5JuX
— Beastbrook (@Beastbr00k0) September 4, 2023
— FIBA Basketball World Cup 2023 🏆 (@FIBAWC) September 3, 2023
Kariniauskas revealed after the game that he actually used to play against Reaves’ brother, who himself said that Kariniauskas should “give [Austin] a trash talk.” And so that’s what he did. The Lithuanian also stated that he had nothing against the Lakers guard:
“Nothing personal,” Kariniauskas said, via Nicole Ganglani of Basketball Network. “It’s just love for the game. I played with his brother last year. I talked with him before the game. Also said it was ‘nothing special’ and just trash talk part of the game.”
Reaves has now broken his silence about his viral moment, and the 6-foot-5 shooting guard was also quick to play down the incident:
“He’s competing, I’m competing. I don’t feel no type of way about [Vaidas Kariniauskas] doing that,” Reaves said. “… There’s been many of times in my career where people have looked at me sideways.”
“He’s competing, I’m competing. I don’t feel no type of way about [Vaidas Kariniauskas] doing that… There’s been many of times in my career where people have looked at me sideways.”
Austin Reaves on Kariniauskas taunting him 🗣️
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPoints) September 4, 2023
That’s now water under the bridge, I guess. More importantly, though, Austin Reaves and Team USA will need to dust themselves off quickly after this stunning loss. They face Italy in the quarter-finals of the FIBA World Cup on Wednesday.
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