July 16, 2012; Washington, DC, USA; PUnited States guard LeBron James (6) shoots the ball as Brazil forward Tiago Splitter (15) defends in the first half at Verizon Center. Team USA won 80-69. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-US PRESSWIRE

LeBron, Team USA Rally to Defeat Brazil

Following the “Dream Team” drama between Kobe and Jordan, Team USA took the floor against the Dominican Republic last week. It was exactly what you’d expect it to be… a slaughter.

Despite having a hard time getting their offense together, the team cruised to a  113-59 win. Last night’s game against Brazil had a much different tune to it, however.

It took 30 points from Lebron James and a steady effort from the rest of the crew to battle back from a 10 point deficit. The defensive intensity on the part of the American’s was almost non-existent. That, and their propensity to settle for three-pointers allowed Brazil to start the first quarter with a full head of steam.

USA rallied back in the second quarter, forcing a plethora of turnovers by displaying the defensive ability they lacked earlier in the game. However, they were only up by five points heading into the second half, a margin that was surprising at the least, considering the fact that Brazil’s only NBA player was Anderson Varajao, who came up with 12 points and thirteen boards.

Brazil managed to put up a good fight, keeping it close through-out the game, but they never managed to make a run to put the USA in any sort of danger after that first quarter.

This year’s roster dawns familiar faces such as Carmelo Anthony, Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Chris Paul and Deron Williams, who all helped bring home the gold in 2008. New faces such as Kevin Love, Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden will also be getting their chance to wear the red, white and blue in London.

This year’s roster is very different from that of four years ago, primarily caused injuries to Dwight Howard and Dwyane Wade. Bulls superstar Derrick Rose would have been a shoo-in for this team, if not for his torn ACL. Another young NBA corner-stone was missing in action as well. Blake Griffin will have to receive arthroscopic surgery on his knee this summer, while newcomer Anthony Davis will be covering for him.

While the roster is not nearly as strong as it was in 2008, Team USA is still expected to bring home the gold in basketball.  They will play their next exhibition game on July 19th, facing off against Great Britain and our very own Luol Deng.

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