Skip to content

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

Jul 16, 2012, 12:11 PM EST

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.

Latest Posts
  1. Eric Bledsoe takes a shot to the face on first possession against Sixers (VIDEO)

    Nov 21, 2014, 10:45 PM EST

    Phoenix Suns v Los Angeles Clippers Getty Images

    Bledsoe said yesterday that Philadelphia would lose to a college team.

  2. Dwight Howard has plasma therapy (Kobe therapy) on right knee

    Nov 21, 2014, 9:46 PM EST

    Dwight Howard Dwight Howard

    He will not play against the Mavericks, at least.

  3. Michele Roberts: NBA agreed to work with union before attempt to ‘prove its toughness’ with Jeff Taylor suspension

    Nov 21, 2014, 7:30 PM EST

    Michele Roberts, the Executive Director of National Basketball Players Association Michele Roberts, the Executive Director of National Basketball Players Association

    National Basketball Players Association executive director: NBA ‘chose to bend to the pressure it feels from the current media spotlight’

  4. Al Michaels tells story of how Doc Rivers was almost Lakers coach in 2004-05

    Nov 21, 2014, 5:59 PM EST

    Any story that includes a chance meeting and conversation with Jerry Buss outside a men’s restroom is going to be golden.

  5. John Wall: Veteran teammates used to think ‘I was a joke’

    Nov 21, 2014, 4:30 PM EST

    Washington Wizards v Portland Trail Blazers Washington Wizards v Portland Trail Blazers

    Former No. 1 pick knows he fought perception due to Wizards’ struggles

  6. Kobe Bryant says he took large enough discount for Lakers to contend

    Nov 21, 2014, 3:02 PM EST

    Los Angeles Lakers v Houston Rockets Getty Images

    Kobe calls owners ability to pressure players into discounts ‘brilliant’ — but it won’t work on him

  7. Report: Jeff Taylor won’t appeal 24-game suspension

    Nov 21, 2014, 2:12 PM EST

    Jeff Taylor mug

    Hornets forward makes right move by accepting lengthy ban

  8. Flip Saunders: Corey Brewer too valuable to trade

    Nov 21, 2014, 9:51 AM EST

    Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic Minnesota Timberwolves v Orlando Magic

    Cavaliers and Rockets were reportedly interested in Timberwolves forward

Featured video

Can Rockets, Grizzlies keep up hot starts?
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. D. Rose (7573)
  2. D. Wade (7141)
  3. K. Durant (6401)
  4. R. Westbrook (5440)
  5. P. Gasol (5150)
  1. T. Jones (5139)
  2. N. Young (5086)
  3. R. Gay (4998)
  4. K. Bryant (4640)
  5. B. Beal (4575)