|10||D. GRANGER||Did not play|
|11||S. CURRY||Did not play|
|5||N. DOS SANTOS||Did not play|
|7||R. NETO||Did not play|
|11||A. VAREJAO||Did not play|
|Min||Minutes played||Tot||Total rebounds||BS||Block Shots|
|%||Shooting percentage||PF||Personal fouls||*||Starters|
ISTANBUL (2010 FIBA World Championship) – They came, they saw, they survived.
The United States got their first real test of the FIBA World Championship on Monday night and edged Brazil 70-68 as Leandro Barbosa’s potential game-tying lay-up at the buzzer stayed out.
In probably the most thrilling encounter between the two countries since the famous Oscar-inspired upset of the USA at the Pan American Games in Indianapolis 23 years ago, the Brazilians and USA gave international basketball a game to treasure.
After blowing out Croatia, 106-78, and defeating Slovenia, 99-77, the Americans ran into a Brazil team that hadn’t looked in top form in their wins over Iran and Tunisia.
But the Brazilians turned their game up a notch in the showdown of teams from the FIBA Americas.
Getting big games from their leading stars, but also from Marcus Vinicius, a surprise starter who hit all three of his attempts from long range in the first half when scoring 11 of his 16 points.
What Ruben Magnano’s team did well was find the open man when they were double-teamed, while also executing the pick-and-roll and give-and-go.
They ran at times, too, yet didn’t get into a running game with the United States – something they didn’t want to do.
Vinicius and Brazil shot the ball extremely well in the first half, hitting seven of 11 shots from long range but also 11 of 20 inside the arc.
Barbosa had eight points and Tiago Splitter was every bit the equal, if not better on some occasions, than the Americans who were defending him.
In the second half, the Brazilians cooled off considerably, but the USA also missed shots.
In the final minutes, Mike Krzyzewski’s team got its noses in front and looked as if they would go on to win.
After Chauncey Billups scored on a drive for a 70-66 lead, though, Barbosa went to the other end and scored on a drive to the basket just 33 seconds from the end.
Billups took a three-pointer at the other end with 10 seconds to go but missed, and Alex Garcia snared the rebound.
Brazil brought the ball up the floor and got it into the hands of their excellent Marcelo Huertas, who handled much of the American pressure all game long and made many of the passes that led to his team’s scores. After the game he visited with FIBATV.Com.
He drove into the lane and drew a foul from Kevin Durant.
Huertas’ first free-throw hit the front of the rim and stayed out, and Magnano instructed him to intentionally miss the second.
His shot with a low trajectory hit the rim and bounced to the left corner where Huertas chased it down.
Durant, who had a game-high 27 points, hustled over to attempt a block of his three-pointer.
Instead, Huertas passed to Barbosa under the basket.
The guard leapt high and shot the ball off the backboard but it dropped, hit the rim and stayed out.
America’s players and bench breathed a sigh of relief before both teams congratulated each other on a fantastic game.
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski: "Points didn't come easy in the second half and both teams showed their character. Brazil is so well coached. Their veteran players have such a good concept. We were able to get a win but we needed more energy to play against this Brazil team and I think we were young for that.
"Leandro Barbosa is one of the best international players in the world and Machado was one of their best shooters. Andre Iguodala is one of our best defenders even if he doesn't shoot so that is why I played him. I thought Splitter was outstanding and Huertas played a magnificent first half in the way he was leading his team.
Huertas was so poised and when he was out of the game that hurt them. I know the Brazil coach would have played him for 40 minutes if he could have, and maybe they would have won. We just had to try to change the rhythm. They were killing us on the pick and roll. We have practiced a few different ways to defend that. But our defense was a lot better in the second half.
"We've only been together for a few weeks. I don't know if we can win but I found out today that my team can play defense."
USA'S Kevin Durant: "We need this game. The atmosphere was great, Brazil did a great job, they put pressure on us. It's a learning experience for us. It's the game we needed.
"Chauncey Billups came up for us in the third quarrter. He is the leader of this team. He did a great job in carrying us in the second half."
Brazil head coach Ruben Magnano: "I want to congratulate USA for the win. Secondly, congratulate the Brazil players for believing in themselves throughout the 40 minutes of the game. The only thing that mobilized us to remain in the game was that belief. We are growing through learning and that is the key to the game. You cannot tell a person or a team they can only reach a certain level, you have to point always high and that is what I tell my players. Brazil plays like Brazil. That's the idea to have an identity and to look to the future with that."