Monday , Aug , 27 , 2007 Oly Sandor

Kobe Bryant Shows Defense Key To Team USA’s Win Over Brazil

On Sunday, Team USA didn’t just beat Brazil, they made a statement. The Americans routed the tournament’s second best team 113-76, proving to the world that the flawed Dream Team era is over. They also proved the road to Olympic gold goes through Kobe Bryant, Carmelo Anthony, and Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s well-oiled American machine …

On Sunday, Team USA didn’t just beat Brazil, they made a statement. The Americans routed the tournament’s second best team 113-76, proving to the world that the flawed Dream Team era is over. 

They also proved the road to Olympic gold goes through , , and Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s well-oiled American machine.

Here’s what struck me about Team USA’s win:

  • Defense. The Americans gave up 76 points to the Brazilians, but this number is inflated. The game was over half way through the second quarter. Every member of Team USA stuck to the system, playing great individual and team defense.
  • Bryant could be the NBA’s best defensive specialist. Kind of scary, huh? Bryant shadowed Brazilian star , holding The Blur to four points on 1-for-7 shooting. Here’s what Barbosa had to say on Bryant’s defense: "He don’t guard like that in the NBA, but he did tonight and I was impressed. He came to guard me, and that was good practice for me. I learned a lot of things the way he was guarding me."
  • Great offensive balance. Anthony and each had 21 points. Bryant hit for 20 points, while Michael Redd added 16.
  • Past American squads have lacked the outside shooting to win international tournaments. But Team USA made 19-of-36 three-point attempts against Brazil. Zone busting won’t be a problem in this tournament.
  • Brazil’s Tiago Splitter had an impressive showing on Sunday, dropping 13 points and nine rebounds against Team USA. drafted the young post in June. Look for Splitter to join the Spurs in 2008-09.
  • Team USA plays Mexico on Monday, Puerto Rico on Tuesday, Uruguay on Wednesday, and  Argentina on Thursday. The second round of the tournament starts on Saturday.

What did you think of Team USA’s play against Brazil? Get at us in the comment box below with your thoughts.

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