The USA Men’s basketball squad buckled down from a slow start to eke out a hard-earned 80-69 win over Brazil on Monday night in Washington – their final game in USA before they compete in the 2012 London Olympics.
USA can’t get going in the early part of the game and the Brazilians took advantage and built a 10-point lead, 27-17, at the end of the opening period.
However, the Americans shifted to next gear in the second period, orchestrating their offense fluidly and stifled the Brazilians with their suffocating defense, to take a 37-32 lead at the half, limiting Brazil to just five points in the second period.
With the momentum on their side, the Americans held on to the lead and kept their composure down the stretch, overcoming several comeback attempts from Brazil to escape with the hard-earned win.
“They came out really counterpunching and taking advantage of our aggressiveness on defense, and they’re well coached,” USA guard Kobe Bryant said after the game. “They came in with a great plan and executed their plan very well start of the game.”
LeBron James had a monster performance as he finished with 30 points and six rebounds, highlighted by several crucial baskets down the stretch that shut the door for Brazil’s comeback attempts.
After the game, James admitted that it was a humbling and overwhelming experience to play in front of US President Barack Obama, who was at courtside along with his wife, kids, and vice president Joe Biden.
“You never have dreams about having the president actually watching you play, because you don’t think it’s possible,” James said. “It’s definitely humbling, to see him here, the first lady and their kids here to watch us play. Really, it’s amazing.”
Anderson Varejao had a monster performance in a losing effort, finishing with 12 points and 13 rebounds, while Alex Garcia had a team-high 14 points for Brazil, who will be playing in Group B in London against Spain, Great Britain, Australia, Russia, and China.
USA, on the other hand, will compete in Group B along with France, Lithuania, Nigeria, Tunisia, and Argentina.