This past Monday night, the USA basketball team battled the tough Brazilian squad in an Olympic tune-up game. Brazil, led by NBA players Leandro Barbosa, Tiago Splitter, and Anderson Varejao, kept the game quite competitive. Unlike the previous game against the Dominican Republic (in which the US won by 54 points, the US had some trouble adjusting to a stronger team. The team jumped off to a very slow start – trailing by 10 points at the end of the first quarter. However, by the second quarter the US locked down defensively and gained a five-point lead by halftime.
The strengths of the US squad were revealed – a strong defensively-minded team and versatile players. Their defensive composure was shown throughout the game as the team created havoc for Brazil. Brazil ended up turning the ball over 23 times (to the US’s 10) while the US was able to steal it 19 times (to Brazil’s 7). LeBron James took control of the game, adding 30 points to his four steals for an eventual 11-point victory, 80 to 69.
However, the US squad lacks size at the center position. Brazil capitalized on this weakness by taking advantage and out-rebounding the US, 36 to 30. The true test will have to wait until July 24th, when the team will face Spain and the two seven-foot tall Gasol brothers.
Written by Guest Blogger, Matt Goldberg