comscore Durant, Billups push U.S. to 2-point victory | Honolulu Star-Advertiser

Durant, Billups push U.S. to 2-point victory

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    Kevin Durant dunked yesterday during the U.S.'s win over Brazil in the World Basketball Championships.

ISTANBUL » The shot bounced off the back rim, then the front, then finally fell out.

With that, the United States walked off the court with a victory, and another warning: A world championship won’t come easily for this young team — if it comes at all.

The Americans survived their first tough test in Turkey, edging Brazil 70-68 yesterday when Leandro Barbosa’s shot rattled out at the buzzer.

"This game right here was an eye-opener," U.S. guard Derrick Rose said.

Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Chauncey Billups added 15 for the Americans (3-0), who essentially clinched Group B with the victory. But they have bigger goals than a group championship, trying to end a 16-year U.S. drought in this event.

This U.S. team has to do without Kobe Bryant, LeBron James and all the other players who led the Americans to the gold medal in the 2008 Olympics, and those guys never needed breaks at the buzzer.

"We know that teams are really coming in here to try to win this tournament and we’re here to do the same," said Rose, the only other U.S. player in double figures with 11 points.

After the Americans trailed most of the first 2 1/2 quarters, Lamar Odom’s dunk with 7:14 left put them ahead 64-62.

But the U.S. couldn’t build on the lead during a tense final few minutes, and Brazil had two chances to send the game to overtime.

Following a miss by Billups, Brazil got the ball and Marcelo Huertas was fouled on a drive to the basket with 3.5 seconds remaining.

He missed the first free throw and then the second intentionally, tracking it down in the corner and firing it underneath to Barbosa, who lofted a shot over Kevin Love, only to have it bounce off the back and front of the rim.

"I thought it was going to go in, but it’s OK," Barbosa said. "I think we did a great job; it was a great game. I don’t think the USA knew that we could cause problems for them and we did it."


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