Monday, August 30, 2010

USA 70 - 68 Brazil (Final)

Well, this game had a suitably shambolic ending. The USA had the ball and a 70-68 lead with 10 seconds to go. With time running out on the shot clock, Chauncey Billups missed a three-point shot. (Billups was 1-7 from 3-point range in the game). Brazil came back and tried a running shot in the lane. The shot missed, but the official called a foul -- a ludicrous call, as no USA player even touched the Brazilian.

So Brazil goes to the line with a chance to tie and only 3.5 seconds left. But Brazil misses the first free throw, thus setting up the intentional miss on the second free throw. The miss bounces off into a corner, and Brazil runs it down. Brazil works the ball back into the lane, and gets one more shot -- which is also missed. The game finally ends with a USA victory, 70-68.

This game is almost exactly what I was expecting from Team USA. Durant had 27 points, Billups had 15, Derrick Rose had 11, Lamar Odom had 8, everyone else on the team combined for only 9. We also had 22 turnovers. If the Brazilians had kept their head in the fourth quarter, they should have had an easy victory. But they wasted possession after possession down the stretch, and mostly threw up long shots that they were too tired to make.

Anyway, this was a very important win for the USA. We are now 3-0 in our group, and our last two group matches are against Tunisia and Iran. So we are in a very strong position to finish top of the group, which could make a big difference in the knockout phase of the competition.

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