Miami Heat star forward LeBron James scored 30 points, 14 of them in the fourth quarter alone, as the U.S. national men’s basketball team beat Brazil, 80-69, in an international exhibition contest played on July 16 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.
The exhibition game served as the final warm-up for both Team USA and Brazil as they head into the 2012 Summer Olympics to be held in London.
Brazil’s national team features a few National Basketball Association (NBA) players, including center/forward Tiago Splitter of the San Antonio Spurs; center Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers; and center Nene of the Washington Wizards. All three of those players are in the seven-feet range and gave USA problems with their size and length inside the paint.
Brazil was able to jump out to a 17-9 lead in the first quarter and led 27-17 going into the second period. But USA eventually warmed up and outscored Brazil, 20-5, in the second quarter to take a 37-32 lead into halftime.
Oklahoma City Thunder forward Kevin Durant, born in the Washington, D.C.-area, came off the bench for USA to score 11 points, one block and one steal; his OKC teammate, guard Russell Westbrook, also came off the bench to score four points with two assists, two rebounds and three steals. USA’s starting point guard Chris Paul of the Los Angeles Clippers added 10 points.
"I think we just had a slow start, missing shots, some shots that we make every single day in practice," USA starting center Tyson Chandler of the New York Knicks said. "But the good thing about tonight is they showed us some looks that we haven't seen so far and we're learning defensively from it, and we'll make shots."