- The Washington Times - Tuesday, August 8, 2006

1:11 p.m.

GUANGZHOU, China - Carmelo Anthony scored 16 first-half points before being forced out with a knee injury, and the United States hung on for a 90-86 victory over Brazil today.

Anthony set the early pace for the U.S. team, but he slipped while chasing a ball to the sideline with 2:21 left in the second quarter. He crashed into coach Mike Krzyzewski and left the game with a hyperextended right knee, an injury team officials said didn’t appear serious.

Kirk Hinrich added 14 points for the Americans, who led 52-38 at halftime. Brazil staged a big comeback while Anthony sat out the rest of the warmup game before the world basketball championship.

Brazil went on a 16-0 run right after the break to grab a 54-52 advantage. The teams then traded the lead throughout the third quarter.

Taking advantage of Anthony’s absence, Brazil went on the attack. Welington Dos Santos rattled the U.S. defense with his speed and passing, while Leandro Barbosa of the Phoenix Suns and Alex Garcia repeatedly drove to the basket. Each finished with 14 points.

Cleveland Cavaliers center Anderson Varejao dictated play under the basket, racking up six defensive rebounds and three offensive boards in the third quarter. He fouled out in the final frame with Brazil trailing 85-82.

LeBron James made a late layup, and Joe Johnson, who finished with 12 points, added one from the free-throw line to seal it for the Americans.

Hinrich was 8-for-8 from the foul line and hit two of four 3-point attempts.

The hard-fought win followed two easy U.S. victories and offered a preview of the tougher competition the Americans likely will face at the world championship, which begins in Japan on Aug. 19.

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