By Lia Crawford
July 19, 2012
For a USA team that has been expected to beat opponents by large sums in this summer’s Olympic games, Team USA did not come off to such a dominant start in their recent game against Brazil.
Fans, including our president Barack Obama, watched anxiously as Team USA trailed by as much as 10 points after the first quarter. LeBron James, however, led the team to a turn around for the victory.
James finished the game with 30 points, 14 of which were in the fourth quarter, and guided the team to their 80-69 victory over Brazil. After only leading by 7 in the last few minutes of the game, James helped Team USA widen the score gap.
Kevin Durant, in his hometown of D.C., scored 11 points while Chris Paul added 10 for the team.
After their 113-59 exhibition opener victory against the Dominican Republic last week in Las Vegas, Team USA faced a tougher opponent in Brazil. Brazil’s size, including three current NBA players, and talented guards made them hard to overcome in the beginning of the game.
Nene of the Washington Wizards, Tiago Splitter of San Antonio and Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers added NBA talent to Brazil. Varejao finished with 12 points and 13 rebounds.
Two years ago, Brazil proved to be the hardest opponent in the world basketball championship when they lost by 2 points. The US finished with a 70-68 victory when Leandro Barbosa’s shot barely missed as time expired.
Though that team did not have LeBron James or some of the other superstars, it proves that Brazil is not to be underestimated. Team USA’s difficult win showed that they still have work to do to win the gold this summer.
The Americans head to Europe on Tuesday to complete their exhibition games. They face Britain in Manchester, England, on Thursday and then play against Argentina and Spain in Barcelona.
A name that was on the original roster that won’t be participating in the remainder of the games is Blake Griffin. After his impressive dunking display during Team USA practice, all was thought to be fine with Griffin’s knee, which he injured during the playoffs. At another practice, however, Griffin re-injured his left knee and had to be flown back to Los Angeles.
After being cast to the side, Anthony Davis quickly stepped into Griffin’s missing role and now has the chance to help Team USA dominate. Even though Davis is young, he has the exhibition games to help him get accustomed to playing with NBA superstars 10 years his senior.
Chairman, Jerry Colangelo, wants Davis on the team now as an investment for future Olympic teams as well. He was quoted explaining that adding younger guys to the roster makes them more likely to play in future Olympic games. Though Davis may not see much floor time this summer in London, the experience is invaluable for both his NBA career and possible Olympic career.
So with Davis, as well as the rest of the 11 stars, Team USA is prepared to take on Great Britain on Thursday. After their back-to-back victories against Portugal, Britain as well as their Chicago Bulls star, Luol Deng, are ready as well.
For their first game outside of the US, though Barack Obama won’t be in the stands, Team USA still looks to impress their fans and lead their team to a victory once again.