Jan 27, 2011; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Nuggets center Nene Hilario (31) hugs Toronto Raptors shooting guard Leandro Barbosa (20) following the game at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets defeated the 96-81. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-US PRESSWIRE

USA Olympic Basketball Exhibition Game #2: BRAZIL


July 12, 2012; Las Vegas, NV, USA; United States guard Kevin Durant (left) and forward Carmelo Anthony (15) duringa stoppage in play against the Dominican Republic in the second half at the Thomas and Mack Center. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

After humiliating University of Kentucky men’s basketball head coach John Calipari and the Dominican Republic’s Olympic basketball team 113-59 three days ago, the 2012 USA Olympic basketball team will look to continue their dominant winning ways against NBA guard Leandro Barbosa and Brazil’s Olympic basketball team.

In Team USA’s recent victory, it was Oklahoma City Thunder’s Kevin Durant who led the way off the bench as he doused the Dominican Republic with his hot shooting. Durant would end up finishing the game with 24 points and would also pull down 10 rebounds in 22 minutes of play. The starters didn’t get much playing as the coaching staff is most likely letting them rest and physically prepare for the Olympic games which will officially begin on July 27. With the starters getting much rest and with no starter playing more than 17 minutes, the bench took over. Sixers forward Andre Iguodala chipped in with 18 points and Minnesota Timberwolves All-Star Kevin Love, had 11 points, but no classic double-double as he just finished with 5 rebounds.

Among the starters Carmelo Anthony led the way with 13 points but just played 12 minutes. Kobe Bryant, Tyson Chandler, LeBron James, and Chris Paul were the other starters for Team USA and neither reached double-digits on any category on the stats sheet. Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant only scored 4 points with 14 minutes of action. Miami Heat forward and NBA league MVP, LeBron James only scored 7 points in 17 minutes. Former teammates Tyson Chandler and Chris Paul weren’t able to show off their old tricks that much as CP3 finished with 0 points but 3 assists and 2012 NBA Defensive Player of the Year, Tyson Chandler, finished with 7 points and a block.

After Team USA suffered a loss by losing Blake Griffin to an injury, which was later reported to be a meniscus tear which would cause him to miss the Olympic games, NBA rookie Anthony Davis came in and filled his spot. The city of New Orleans is certainly proud to see their possible franchise play represent the United States in the 2012 Olympic Games in London. Davis would make one three pointer and would finish the game with 9 points off the bench. Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook and Brooklyn Nets point guard Deron Williams would both finish with 6 points with Williams dishing out a game-high 10 assists as well. Westbrook’s teammate, James Harden, would finish with 8 points.

Team USA’s next opponent will come tomorrow against the Brazilian National team which features 3 NBA players in Anderson Varejao, Nene, and “The Brazilian Blur” Leandro Barbosa. Last NBA season Varejao suffered a fractured wrist midway through the lockout season which caused him to miss a chunk of NBA games. Varejao is was well known for being one of LeBron’s closest teammates back when LeBron was still wearing a Cleveland Cavaliers jersey. The two former teammates will once again be able to see each other on a basketball in different uniforms. One with the United States, not the Miami Heat, and one with Brazil, not the Cleveland Cavaliers. The crafty Brazilian forward averaged career numbers last season (2011-2012) in points and rebounds with 10.8 points, 11.5 rebounds, and 1.7 assists per game.

Joining Varejao in the front court for Brazil will be the Nene from the Washington Wizards. During last season’s NBA Trade Deadline, Nene was dealt by the Denver Nuggets to the Washington Wizards in exchange for center JaVale McGee. Nene, in my opinion, is one of the most underrated NBA big men in the league today. Most people forget about his toughness in the paint and how he can compete against other great NBA centers still playing today such as Andrew Bynum, Marc Gasol, who’ll be playing for the Spanish Olympic team, and of course, Dwight Howard. Last season Nene averaged 13.7 points and 7.5 rebounds.

Outside of the big man position the Brazilian National team will be lead, with quickness of course, by Leandro Barbosa from the Indiana Pacers. Just like Nene, Barbosa was traded during the NBA Trade Deadline. The Toronto Raptors would ship Barbosa to Indiana where Barbosa would again get the opportunity to play in the NBA’s biggest stage, the NBA Playoffs. The former NBA Sixth Man of the Year averaged 11.1 points last season but just averaged about half of that during the post season.

 It will definitely be another exciting basketball game to watch and I absolutely believe that, with no disrespect, this will be a blowout somewhat like Team USA’s first exhibition game. 

 USA vs Brazil will be live on ESPN2 on July 16 at 8:00 PM ET

For more NBA analysis and opinions check out Theon’s general NBA blog, THEONBA

Tags: Brazil Dominican Republic Team USA