Mon, Aug 30th 2010, 17:26
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski described the game versus Brazil as a character game.Thanks to 27 points and 10 rebounds from Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) and a strong defensive effort in the second half, the USA passed the character test and edged Brazil (2-1) 70-68 in a battle of Group B unbeatens Monday evening at Abdi Ipekci Arena in Istanbul, Turkey. The win improved the U.S. record to 3-0 and put the Americans in excellent shape to earn the group’s number one seeding for the eighth-finals.
Durant led the U.S. scoring on 4-for-6 shooting from 3-point, while Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets) added 15 points, Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls) contributed 11 and Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers) was credited with eight points and nine rebounds.
“We only allowed 22 points in the second and when you’re offense isn’t going very well, to still play great defense shows that you have character. I said (to the team) that I thought they had the character to win because it was not easy to win tonight. They had to do it doing tough things,” Krzyzewski said.
“It was not (a game) – especially in the second half – where points came easy. Both teams still played with great heart. I think it showed the character of each team. When that happens, to me, a team can show its character in a bad way or a good way. I thought both teams showed it in a good way. I found out something about my team tonight.”
The contest was a tale of two different halves. Over the first two quarters the two teams combined to score 89 points with Brazil heading to their locker room at intermission with a 46-43 lead.
The defenses clamped down in the second half and the two teams managed to score 49 points combined, and only after the U.S. outscored Brazil 27-22 in the last two quarters did the Americans post the 70-68 win.
“They came out first and did a great job of putting pressure on us but I thought we fought hard all game. Shots weren’t going down for us, but we still continued to play defense in that second half. It’s a learning experience for us. It was a game we needed,” stated Durant.