The US Men's basketball team defeated the visiting Brazil national team 95-78 Saturday in Chicago, as locals cheered on the return of Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose. Despite the injury loss of Paul George and the resignation of Kevin Durant, USA pulled away with a healthy margin of victory. Washington Wizards forward Nene scored 11 points and secured 5 rebounds in defeat, albeit 8 of those 11 points came in the first half of play.
"It's a great game to have idea what we need to do to get better," said Nene postgame. "The right time to do a mistake is now. We have a couple more games to prepare ourselves. Nothing better than playing against the US to have an idea."
Maybyner Hilario--or Nene, as NBA fans know him, played 19 minutes as a starter in comparison to teammate Tiago Splitter, who clocked 24 at center. One of the reasons why Nene had less minutes was due to his first half foul trouble, which was mostly the result of a Brazil team that couldn't manage to stop the USA fast break. Nene did slip once or twice as Brazil put up their zone defense, but he performed well in most of his one-on-one assignments. He even blocked a shot attempt by USA center Anthony Davis, who, otherwise, dominated the game with a game-high 20 points.
No one else on Brazil's roster managed a block in the friendly, which isn't at all surprising, but goes to show you the effort Nene put into the game (when Nene made his block on AD it was late and with the game generally out of reach). Nene took a break from Brazil basketball last year and received boos from his hometown crowd, which prompted him to take up the national squad again this summer. Wizards fans and front office alike will be watching "The Big Brazilian" closely during the friendlies, as the main concern is whether Nene--who put in NBA Playoffs hours in 2014--will still be fresh come the 2015 NBA Playoffs, should the Wizards return to the postseason.
The 2014 FIBA World Cup (previously known as the World Championship) will last August 30-September 14. The Wizards' preseason will start on October 6, which will give Nene about half a month to rest, and train, with Washington.
For more on the return of Rose and the Chicago Bulls, check out Chicago Bulls Examiner.