Flashback: 1992 USA Dream Team Sprints Past Brazil 127-83
The Brazil-USA match-up on July 31 was one of the Summer Games’ most anticipated.
During the Tournament of the Americas, members of the Brazil team had been quoted as saying they were looking forward to playing the Dream Team. Brazil veteran Marcel De Sousa had gone a step further, stating, “If they are the Dream Team, we are the Nightmare Team. We want to see how good we are against them.”
The match-up was never realized in the Tournament of the Americas. Brazil was upset in the semifinals by Venezuela. Brazil, however, got its wish in the Olympics.
From the start it was evident that Brazil intended to try to run and gun with the U.S. It worked for the first 4:33 and Brazil slipped out to a 15-13 lead.
But then the USA’s talent and depth slowly began to wear the Brazilian team down. With the U.S. leading 26-21 and 13:03 to play in the first half, the U.S. ripped off 10-straight points to take command 36-21, then scored the final five points of the first half and took a 60-41 lead into the locker room.
The U.S. erased any chance of another Brazilian comeback early in the second half. Brazil had shocked the North Americans in the 1987 Pan American Games finals, rallying for a 120-110 victory. This time, however, the U.S. blitzed Brazil 23-7 in the first 6:37 of the second half and went on to record the lopsided 44-point victory.
Seven members of the Dream Team scored in double digits, but on this night, it was the Charles Barkley Show. Barkley, who dropped 12-of-14 from the field, set a USA Olympic men’s single-game scoring record with 30 points and added eight rebounds.
On the defensive end, although Brazil star Oscar Schmidt finished with 24 points on 8-of-25 shooting from the field, Barkley limited the high-scoring Schmidt to just six points on 2-of-10 in the first half.
“That Charles Barkley … we just don’t see anyone like that,” said Schmidt following the game. “I loved it. They are my idols. I will remember this game for the rest of my life.”
“It’s not that these other teams are bad, our team is just a great, great, great team,” expressed Barkley. “Sooner or later people are going to have to start giving us credit. You know the biggest advantage we have? These guys can’t play the whole 40 minutes like they’re used to playing because the game is too fast here. In the European game, those guys can play the whole game and still dominate. They have to take break after break after break against us because we’re coming at them with a lot of soldiers. There’s no down period for our team, there’s no bad team we can put out there and that’s one of our biggest advantages.
“There’s no adjective you can use to describe this team,” he continued. “I get amazed playing and watching. People said, ‘They won’t be able to play together.’ Well, we solved that problem. They said, ‘We won’t be able to play against a zone.’ We solved that problem. ‘We’ve got too many egos.’ We solved that problem. Now people are trying to come up with stuff to say what’s wrong with this team.”
“We don’t feel humiliated as they played a tough game,” said Brazil coach Jose Medalha. “The only thing we were hoping for was to lose by the minimum number of points possible. You can’t hope for anything else when playing against the USA. We are aware of their high caliber.”