USA Work Hard to Beat Brazil in Olympic Preview
This week saw the USA take on Brazil in a pre-Olympics basketball match.
Brazil’s team included Nene, Anderson Varejao and Tiago Splitter, all of them 6-11 and exactly the kind of players which could give the USA a problem at the Olympics.
They played well and were 10 points up at the start of the second quarter and were only trailing 65-59 with just under 6 minutes left in the fourth quarter. However, in the end the speed and defensive pressure of the USA tired Brazil and the USA won 80 – 69.
The U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said that there are not many opponents harder than Brazil and that they are in with a good chance of taking gold at the Olympics. The team’s biggest worry going into the Olympics is their lack of size, especially with centre Dwight Howard and forward-centre Chris Bosh out with injuries. Tyson Chandler is their only true centre playing and they will have to rely on James Lebron, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and guard-forward Andre Iguodala to keep an eye on the bigger players.
Overall Krzyzewski said that he liked his team’s defence in the final three quarters and was very impressed that they overcame poor shooting and won. He said that the team did “not have defensive intensity and if this team doesn’t have that, we’re going to get scored on”. Furthermore he thinks that if they manage to win gold “it will be because of how well we play defensively. To win this game like that, it’s a good learning experience for our group.”
As usual James Lebron was the star player and was just too difficult for Brazil to defend. He scored a total of 30 points and said that he decided “to make my mark in the paint, with post-ups and drives, just to get us in the flow of the game.”