It was a bit surprising to see the Brazilian men’s basketball team take it to the U.S. men in the early going of their exhibition game Monday night and actually had me wondering if the U.S. could pull it out.
Of course they did, winning by 11, 80-69 but it was no gimme. The U.S. had to pull out all the stops, which included great defense, and 30 points from Lebron James, to win the game played in Washington D.C.
The first quarter was awful for the Americans who trailed by as much as 17-7 with five minutes showing in the first quarter before they turned things around and held Brazil to two field goals in the second period.
Team USA won by getting solid offense from James and played great defense in the second half. Still, the Brazilians wouldn’t go away and some cold shooting from Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant didn’t help either. The Americans made only 1 of 12 from 3-point range in the first half.
I have to agree with the television announcers who kept saying that this year’s U.S. team is about as good as it can be with all those NBA stars on the roster. But the reason they struggled Monday night is because their Olympic counterparts are getting better every Olympic year. Brazil is not considered the team to dethrone the USA but they are in the mix. They mentioned Spain, Argentina, Brazil and France as some of the teams capable of beating Team USA. Almost all those teams have NBA players or former NBA players on their rosters.
Brazil has Nene Hilario, Tiago Splitter (of the Spurs) and a great point guard in Marcelo Huertas who was compared with some of the best point guards in the NBA. Spain has many NBA stars including the Gasol Brothers, Marc and Pau, and Argentina has (youknow who) Manu Ginobili and Luis Scola. France will come in with San Antonio’s Tony Parker playing point guard and Boris Diaw by his side.
All those teams have gotten better over the years and all of them have NBA players on their rosters. All of them are capable of beating Team USA.
Don’t be too hard on our guys if they don’t win gold this year in London. After all, one reason the opposition is getting better is because most of them have been trained in the USA.