'Dream team' overcome nightmare to beat Brazil

James scored 30 to spearhead the Americans

The US men's basketball team eased past Brazil 80-69 in an exhibition game on Monday, but their sluggish play and spotty shooting should banish any thoughts they will waltz to another Olympic gold medal in London.

LeBron James scored 30 to lead the Americans, who trailed by 10 after the first period and were out-rebounded (38-30) and out-hustled by their less-heralded counterparts.

The United States hit only 29 of 71 shots from the floor, including six of 24 from three-point range.

While James hit 11 of 20 shots, his team mates were much less effective, Kobe Bryant managing only eight points on three of 11 shooting. Carmelo Anthony shot one of seven from the floor, scoring just three points for the Americans, who won Olympic gold four years ago in Beijing. 

Brazil took advantage of poor shooting and sloppy ball movement by the Americans to take a 27-17 lead after the opening period.

Twelve points in the quarter by former NBA guard Alex Garcia, including two from beyond the arc, silenced the Verzizon Center crowd of nearly 20,000 anticipating a US blowout.

The Americans, however, began running more efficiently and, anchored by James's seven points, outscored Brazil 20-5 in the second quarter to take a 37-32 lead into halftime.

A huge advantage in size and athleticism ultimately allowed the United States to pull away in the second half.

Garcia led Brazil with 14 points while Anderson Varejao of the Cleveland Cavaliers added 12.

Last week, the US squad opened their exhibition campaign in Las Vegas with a 113-59 rout of an outmanned squad from the Dominican Republic.

The Americans will now leave for England to continue training ahead of the Olympics and will face Great Britain in an exhibition at Manchester Arena on Thursday.

 

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