— There has been much discussion in recent days about how this year's U.S. Olympic men's basketball team stacked up against its most famous predecessors, the Dream Team of 1992. There also has been a good deal of trash talking too by legendary trash talkers
What happened Monday night at Verizon Center is bound to keep those aging Hall of Famers busy yapping about how much better they were than the young guys.
What was supposed to be a rousing sendoff for the U.S. team playing its last game on American soil before continuing its pre-Olympic tour later this week in England, turned into an embarrassing first quarter that saw Brazil take a 10-point lead amid an assortment of missed dunks, errant jump shots and porous defense by their more famous counterparts.
There were an assortment of possible excuses — treating the exhibition as an All-Star game rather than a tuneup, playing in front of President
James, who during opening introductions received his first rousing ovation in what has long been unfriendly territory, led the Americans with 30 points on 11 of 20 shooting. The reigning NBA MVP was about the only U.S. player to live up to his gaudy reputation.
Asked if it was good for his team to be “humbled” by Brazil, U.S. coach
It was a tough night for the U.S. team's two players with local roots.
"We had open shots off the pick-and-roll, we just weren't making them," Durant said. "We've just got to keep working. Their defense didn't do anything different. We just missed shots, layups, dunks. We've just got to fight through it. We've got to stick with it and we'll be fine."
Anthony didn’t seem concerned about the fact that he didn’t make a shot until early in the fourth quarter or that the Americans were outrebounded, 38-30, by a bigger Brazilian team that featured
"We did a good job against a team with two or three bigs and held our own," said Anthony, who only had four rebounds and seemed to be out of sync after early foul trouble.
After a first quarter that saw Brazil jump out to leads of 10-4, 17-7 and 27-17 at the end of the 10-minute period, a stretch that saw
The U.S. tightened its defense, and went on a 16-2 run to start the quarter and take the lead. A steal under the U.S. basket by Chandler, and a subsequent layup, gave the Americans a 30-29 lead with 3:20 left in the first half. The U.S. stretched its lead to 5 points, 37-32, at halftime despite shooting only 15 of 39 in the half, including 1 of 12 on 3s .
The perimeter shooting, which is supposed to be a strength of this year's U.S. team, shook off its cold half and came out firing. Threes by Kobe Bryant and
Taking a 59-51 lead into the final quarter after a Durant drive in the closing seconds of the third quarter, the Americans built their lead back to double-digits with a two-handed slam by the Oklahoma City star and two-time reigning NBA scoring champion. Anthony followed with his first basket of the night, taking a pass from Durant in the lane and scoring.
"I felt our defense won the game," Krzyzewski said. "It was outstanding for three quarters because we didn't hit shots. We missed dunks.I like the mental toughness of our team. We kept reminding them, 'We're not doing it on offense. Don't let it affect our defense. And I thought it didn't."
The Brazilians, with a roster than includes Wizards center
If the sight of James banging a dunk off the back rim brought many out of their seats, so did the sight of the leader of the free world smooching his wife. After President Obama and his wife got booed for unknowingly ignoring their images on the Kiss Cam earlier in the night, they were treated to a wild ovation when he and the First Lady locked lips.
It might have been a bigger
In the opening game of the doubleheader, the U.S. Olympic women's team defeated Brazil, 99-67. U.S. players scored in double figures, with