Dream Team aroused early, turns lights out on Brazil U.S. romps, 109-68, after Saturday's scare

July 08, 1996|By Jerry Bembry | Jerry Bembry,SUN STAFF

CLEVELAND -- For Charles Barkley, the difference was immediate yesterday as he walked onto the court at Gund Arena and looked across the court at opponents not wearing "USA" across their chests.

"It was hard to go out with a killer instinct playing against our young kids," Barkley said of Saturday's six-point win over the USA Select 22-and-under team. "When we get on the court against foreign competition, we go out with a little bit more intensity."

So the team from Brazil was a marked team from the start in the second game of the Dream Team exhibition tour. And though Brazil managed to keep the game close for about seven minutes, it wilted under a defensive pressure that produced a 109-68 win for the Dream Team before a crowd of 20,562.

Six Dream Team members scored in double figures, with Mitch Richmond leading the way with 21 points in 22 minutes. Brazil was led by veteran guard Oscar Schmidt, who scored 21.

This was what basketball fans expected, a blowout performance during which players were able to joke around and have fun. Saturday's 96-90 win marked the closest anyone has ever come to the three Dream Teams, but yesterday's 41-point win was in line with the dominance of international competition by the first Dream Team.

"The game [Saturday] was not indicative on how hard we worked in camp," Dream Team coach Lenny Wilkens said. "We all were a little embarrassed. And we all showed [yesterday] what we are all about."

They did it with a defense that forced 24 turnovers (Anfernee Hardaway had a team-high four steals), which is why the Dream Team ended the game with a 38-5 advantage in fast-break points. And they won the game big by attacking the basket, with the Dream Team scoring more than half of its points -- 64 -- in the paint, and 23 on free throws. Just nine of the team's 41 field goals came on jumpers.

"You want easy, fast-break points," Hardaway, who had 10 points and five assists in 18 minutes, said. "You have to play hard defensively, and if you do that you're going to win."

Karl Malone played well defensively, making four of the team's seven blocked shots. He said members of the team are beginning to communicate more on the court.

"We're learning to trust each other more. We're talking more," Malone said.

Brazil's coach, Ary Vidal, was suitably impressed.

"The game was a challenge that we weren't ready to meet," he said. "They're bringing off the bench, late in the game, talent that we don't have at the start of the game."

Asked to compare the two dream teams, Schmidt, 38, who in Atlanta will become the first Brazilian basketball player to participate in five Olympics, said the only difference is the shock value of the first team.

"The first Dream Team had more impact. The first was a dream for everybody," Schmidt said. "This team may be as strong as the first. I don't think anybody can beat them."

Schmidt said that if the United States sent an NBA team to the Olympics -- rather than a Dream Team -- perhaps the games would be more competitive.

Barkley has heard the criticisms and realizes that, regardless of what this team accomplishes, not everybody is going to be happy.

"We blow them out, they'll say we're too good; we play close, they'll say we're not that good," Barkley said. "Our objective is to win that gold medal. And that's all we're going to worry about."

BRAZIL -- Minuci 2-4 0-0 5, Vianna 0-3 4-4 4, Dos Santos 0-6 2-2 2, Fonseca 2-6 3-4 8, Schmidt 7-16 3-5 21, Joercke 1-3 2-2 4, Kiafke 3-6 5-5 12, Santana 0-0 0-0 0, Ferracciu 0-4 0-0 0, Do Nasciamento 1-7 0-2 2, Cassiolato 1-2 4-4 6, Silveira 2-5 0-0 4. Totals 19-62 23-28 68.

DREAM TEAM -- Pippen 6-11 0-0 13, Barkley 3-6 1-1 7, O'Neal 5-8 0-1 10, Hardaway 4-7 2-2 10, Richmond 7-13 6-6 21, Payton 2-4 0-0 4, Malone 3-4 3-4 9, Olajuwon 1-2 3-4 5, Miller 2-4 4-4 10, Hill 4-5 2-4 10, Robinson 3-3 2-4 8, Stockton 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 41-69 23-30 109.

Halftime--Dream Team 50, Brazil 30. 3-point goals--Brazil 7-19 (Schmidt 4-7, Minuci 1-1, Fonseca 1-3, Kiafke 1-3, Dos Santos 0-1, Ferracciu 0-1, Cassiolato 0-1, Do Nasciament 0-2), Dream Team 4-11 (Miller 2-4, Richmond 1-3, Pippen 1-3, Barkley 0-1). Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Brazil 37 (Dos Santos, Do Nasciament 6), Dream Team 46 (O'Neal 7). Assists--Brazil 15 (Minuci 6), Dream Team 30 (Hardaway 5). Total fouls--Brazil 22, Dream Team 23. A--20,562.

Pub Date: 7/08/96

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