Durant powers U.S. into world final

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - World championship favorites the United States marched into the final with an 89-74 win over Lithuania on Saturday thanks to another effervescent performance by their top player Kevin Durant.

The 21-year-old forward scored 38 points, including 27 in the first half, as the U.S. toyed with Lithuania after the east Europeans took an 11-9 lead early on.

The Americans shot only three of 16 from three-point range in the first half but opened up a commanding 42-27 lead on the back of 20 defensive rebounds.

Durant fended off the Lithuanians with a three-pointer or a spectacular drive to the basket whenever they threatened to get back into the match, having also grabbed nine rebounds.

His Oklahoma team mate Russel Westbrook had 12 points and seven assists while Los Angeles Lakers forward Lamar Odom netted 13 and 10 rebounds, with the United States collecting an impressive total of 45 boards.

Robertas Javtokas led Lithuania with 15 points and nine rebounds, Martynas Pocius added 13 and seven rebounds but their inspirational forward Linas Kleiza had a poor game, scoring only four points after hitting just one of his 11 field goals.

Hosts Turkey play the tournament's surprise package Serbia in the other semi-final later on Saturday.

(Writing by Zoran Milosavljevic in Belgrade; Editing by Justin Palmer)