USA saw off the challenge of a well drilled Brazil side, winning 70-68 in one of the games of the tournament in Istanbul.
Kevin Durant, who led scorers with 27 points, was aware of the threat that Brazil faced.
“Brazil is a well coached team, who have a lot of good players.” Durant said after the game.
Marcus Viera led Brazil with 16 points, while Leandro Barbosa hit 14.
Barbosa drew Brazil to within two points with 20 seconds remaining – Huertas was fouled, with 3.5 seconds left. He missed the first, purposely missed the second, Barbosa grabbed the loose ball, and missed his contested lay-up to give USA the win.
In probably the most enjoyable first ten minutes, Brazil had the upper hand on the Americans, with breathtaking fast-break basketball, getting out to an early 10-6 lead off a Wellington Dos Santos triple.
As you would expect, the NBA-filled American roster hit back with their own style of fast-break basketball, culminating in Kevin Durant levelling the game up at 13 with a three of his own.
A high-tempo, free-scoring first quarter, ended with Brazil leading, 28-22 – and the packed crowd at the Abdi Ipecki, breathless.
Despite this, Durant thought the energy was lacking.
“In the first half, I thought we didn’t bring any energy into the game. But, overall, it was a great game.” Durant stated.
For the crowd though, the fun didn’t stop, as Guileherme Giovannoni got he second quarter underway, with a lay-up – followed by a Durant bucket, plus the foul.
The U.S went on an 8-0 run, towards the end of the first half of action, closing the gap to one (36-37), as Derrick Rose scored in traffic.
Durant was proving to be the Americans only source of scoring – as he racked up 19 points in the first two quarters. Brazil up 46-43 at the half.
The U.S took the lead mid-way through a slower-paced third quarter, as a Durant triple and a trademark floater from Rose gave the States a 52-50 lead.
The score stayed that way for two minutes – the first real spell of cold-turkey from both sides.
Brazil though relied too much on their three-pointers – and the Americans punished them, at will. Durant with back-to-back buckets giving USA a 61-55 lead with a minute to go – Brazil came back though. Barbosa narrowing the gap – and the two sides went into the final stanza with USA up, 61-59.
The fourth quarter began with the crowd firmly on Brazil’s side. When a U.S.A chant was started, it was met with resounding boos. The States though, got the upper-hand, early on. Derrick Rose converting, to make it 66-62 in his side’s favour.
Buckets were traded – loud cheers for the Brazilians, boos for the Americans. Billups hitting a pair of free-throws to give America a 70-66 advantage. The final two minutes brought everyone to their feet.
“In the second half, points came easy (both teams).” Coach K added.
“Both teams played with great heart – and I think it showed the character of each team, and to me when a team shows its character, in a bad way or a good way, and I thought both teams showed it in a good way.”
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net – in Istanbul.