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Brazil provides big test for Team USA Monday. Literally big.

Jul 16, 2012, 12:11 PM EDT

Tyson Chandler AP

It is the one weakness for Team USA — after Tyson Chandler there are no other true centers on the USA Basketball roster due to injuries. In The USA’s first game, against the Dominican Republic, coach Mike Krzyzewski tried Kevin Love, LeBron James and seemingly everyone but Chris Paul at the five spot. The Dominicans could do nothing about it.

Brazil is a different story.

Team USA takes on Brazil Monday night in our nation’s capital and this is a team that can attack the United States with size — they have the Wizards’ Nene, they have the Cavaliers’ Anderson Varejao, they have the Spurs’ Tiago Splitter and a generally larger team.

They also have a point guard in Marcelo Huertas who can handle the USA’s pressure defense better and is fantastic at picking apart defenses with the pick-and-roll (if the first option doesn’t work out they will re-set screens all night long). He did that at the World Championships in Turkey two years ago as Brazil gave the USA its toughest game of that tournament.

Every time Coach K is asked about the USA and size concerns he comes back with the same response — “they have to match up with us, too.” Which is true, there is nobody on the planet that stops LeBron James at the four. Kevin Durant is a matchup nightmare as well, and Deron Williams is a physical defender who can give Huertas some trouble at the point.

But Brazil is going to be a real test because of their size, the could hurt Team USA on the boards. In the second half of the Dominican Republic rout Krzyzewski went with a Chandler at the five, Love at the four lineup that was more traditional. Expect to see that tonight.

But exhibition games are about learning — expect to see Coach K to throw LeBron, Durant and others against the Brazilian front line because now is when you want to see what works. Now, when the games don’t count, is when to experiment.

If you just wanted to see the USA put on a dunk fest and entertain, you should have watched the Dominican Republic game. If you want to see a real test for Team USA, tune in Monday night.

  1. packersareandwillalwaysbebetterthanthebears - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:23 PM

    Neither of those 3 would have a sliver of hope of being considered to be on Team USA if they were American. I will be highly disappointed if Team USA has any real problems in these Olympics

    • kingcy - Jul 24, 2012 at 10:28 PM

      are u serious? Chandler would have his hands full trying to keep his roster spot from Nene (far more overall skill) and Varajo (much better rebounder and energy)

  2. smoothaswilkes - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:25 PM

    If you are going to pump up the game and get me excited to watch how about listing a time & place? That way we don’t have to go offsite to look that up. By the way, it’s on ESPN2 at 5pm PST.

    • mornelithe - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:48 PM

      Thanks very much, I was wondering what time it was also! Kind of silly not to mention when it was lol.

    • florida727 - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:53 PM

      Second the thanks, #smooth…, I was wondering when it was. Figured it’d be somewhere around 8p or 9p ET. Thanks again.

  3. carolinakid - Jul 16, 2012 at 12:57 PM

    The ’92 team would yawn at this.

    Just sayin’ ….. 😉

  4. skinsfanwill - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:02 PM

    How fast can those 3 get up and down the floor? There are matchup nightmares all over the place in this game. But what about Davis. He’s long and skinny but is still considered a big. Put Chandler on Nene and whoever you like on the other two. They can defend themselves and still won’t score.

  5. skids003 - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:12 PM

    Coach K doing great job managing the egos. That being said, no fear of them losing, the almighty great Kobe will pull them through if needed.

    • badintent - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:34 AM

      LBJ all the way .hey , hey hey, he took it to the rack, while Kobe called his divorce lawyer……………….” um , I gave her and her mom 3 houses but I want the Ferrari back and my heli-pad.” Say what ? You saw Shaq at Vanassa’s house ? Damn, I thought I got rid of him to Miami. Oh, he brought Hoopz for some play station ?

  6. ccshocktalk - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:16 PM

    if size is the problem, someone should have told that to guys like Dennis Rodman and Ben Wallace, two guys who would shut down anybody in the paint and grab almost any rebound out there…it’s not size, it’s who is going to push a bit more, and whose shots are going to fall…that being said, my money is on team USA by at least 20.

  7. ashutto20 - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:15 PM

    smoothaswilkes…if you give a time make sure its the right time…5:30 is the WOMEN usa team vs Brazil…

    8pm is the MENS game vs Brazil…


    • mornelithe - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:55 PM

      Should probably re-read his post, he said 5PM PST, which is 8PM EST.

      There are more time zones than just Eastern Standard.


  8. allcarolinasports - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:25 PM

    Thanks for trying to add a little more excitement to the game, but it’s not needed. Watching team US blow Brazil out will be enough entertainment. Look at the Team USA lineup, do you really think coach k cares if he has Bigs on his side. This was a waste of an article!!!

    • badintent - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:27 AM

      1-12 on 3s Coach K on Batline for skilled white players to shoot the ball so LBJ doesn’t have to save their butts ………………again “.Paging Mr. Mike Miller, paging Mr. Steve Novak, paging Mr Dirk..oh crap he’s on Germany ‘s team.” Paging Mr. Steve…. crap , he’s the Canadian GM.

  9. lmvs2012 - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:26 PM

    U.s.a by 23 on this one

  10. thelakeshow562 - Jul 16, 2012 at 2:50 PM


  11. isujames - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:40 PM

    This team of scrubs suppose to give the U.S. trouble??? What movie is this?

  12. ashutto20 - Jul 16, 2012 at 4:59 PM

    My bad…the post below him messed me up


  13. imforbigblue - Jul 16, 2012 at 8:20 PM

    Kills me that coach rat doesn’t think Davis could play center if they need him. He’s only the best shot blocker to come out of college in the last 30 years and he is a good player and has played vs some really good teams.

  14. tomtravis76 - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:06 AM

    Dream Team v London team debate can end. Don’t like not having traditional low post players.

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