USA Basketball notched a win in their first exhibition game before the 2014 FIBA World Cup, defeating Brazil 95-78 in Chicago on Saturday.
Team USA started the game well, jumping out to a quick 25-13 lead. There was a lot of energy early as Derrick Rose and Kyrie Irving showed a ton of intensity in the opening period.
After that high point, however, Team USA struggled offensively, allowing Brazil back into the game.
Brazil chipped away in the second period and was able to cut the score to eight points heading into halftime.
Brazil continued to stay with the Americans in the third quarter. They were not able to take the lead, but they were able to keep the game within 10 points and finished the third period only down by five.
Team USA was able to get it going in the fourth quarter, however, breaking the game open and ballooning the lead to 22 points at one point.
The intensity displayed in the final period showed exactly what Team USA is capable of when they decide to buckle down. Anthony Davis even dived into the stands at one point during the fourth to try to save a loose ball!
Davis ended up being the high scoring man with 20 points, while also adding four blocks. James Harden was the second leading scorer with 18 points.
The offensive struggles were apparent for Team USA as they really sputtered after taking an early lead.
Highlighted in the broadcast was a point made by Team USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski on the team’s offensive struggles. He said during a practice interview the team was struggling offensively as most of their offensive system was based around Kevin Durant, who withdrew from Team USA.
It is definitely tough for the team out on the court as they are reeling due to the loss of two of their potential starters (Kevin Durant and Paul George) for the 2014 FIBA World Cup.
Other notes fromthe game include the fact that neither Gordon Hayward, Andre Drummond, or DeMar DeRozan played any minutes during the game against Brazil.
DeMarcus Cousins also didn’t see any playing time, but that was due to a knee injury suffered in practice.
Additionally, Damian Lillard did see floor time but his action was limited.
Concerning for Atlanta Hawks fans is that Kyle Korver was also limited in his playing time.
Korver played almost 25 minutes in the USA Basketball Showcase Blue vs. White scrimmage, but received nowhere near that amount of playing time against Brazil. The 3-point specialist finally checked in at the 3:42 mark in the second quarter and finished the game 0-for-1, his only shot being a 3 point attempt.
This does not bode well for the players receiving limited time as Team USAS has to cut its roster down to 12 before the 2014 FIBA World Cup begins, and those with limited action look the most likely to be cut.
What are your thoughts from the USA Basketball game versus Brazil? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned to Soaring Down South for your USA Basketball coverage.