ISTANBUL — The United States survived its first tough test at the world championships, edging Brazil 70-68 on Monday when Leandro Barbosa’s shot rattled out at the buzzer.
Kevin Durant scored 27 points and Chauncey Billups added 15 for the Americans (3-0), who essentially clinched Group B with the victory. But this was further proof that a world title won’t come easily for this young U.S. team — if it comes at all.
The Americans didn’t take the lead for good until 7:14 remained in the game, and Brazil had two chances to tie it in the final seconds.
After the Americans trailed most of the first 2½ quarters, Lamar Odom’s dunk with 7:14 left put them ahead 64-62. But they couldn’t build on the lead during a tense final few minutes.
Following a miss by Billups, Brazil got the ball and Marcelo Huertas was fouled on a drive to the basket with 3.5 seconds left. He missed the first free throw and then the second intentionally, tracking it down in the corner and firing it underneath to Barbosa, who put up a shot over Kevin Love, only to have it bounce off the back and front of the rim.
Marcus Vinicius scored 16 points and Barbosa finished with 14 after a strong start for Brazil (2-1). Tiago Splitter had 13 while battling foul trouble in the second half.
Copyright 2010 by STATS LLC and The Associated Press. Any commercial use or distribution without the express written consent of STATS LLC and The Associated Press is strictly prohibited.