LONDON — Any hopes the host nation team had of pulling off an upset here Tuesday faded in the final two minutes against Brazil, as Marcelinho Huertas upstaged NBA All-Star Luol Deng before a raucous hometown crowd at the Olympic Basketball Arena.
For the second straight game, the Brazilian point guard made the plays down the stretch to preserve his team’s 67-62 victory, much as he did the same against Australia Sunday.
Huertas sealed the game with two free throws in the final seconds and finished the contest with 13 points and eight assists, two more than the rest of his teammates combined and just one shy of Great Britain’s final tally.
Tiago Splitter led Brazil with 21 points on 9-for-11 shooting from the floor. Splitter, Nene and Anderson Varejao — all NBA big men — grabbed six rebounds each.
Deng simply never could get going, finishing just 3-for-13 from the floor and scoring 12 points to go along with his eight rebounds and seven assists. He was just 1-for-11 until he nailed two late jumpers, was 1-for-7 from beyond the 3-point line, and only made four of his eight free throws.
Pops Mensah-Bonsu (13 points, 12 rebounds) led the way for Great Britain inside, while Nate Reinking knocked down three of his shots from deep and also finished with 13 points.