The American national hoops squad got off to a tough start against the Brazilians last night, but LeBron James (30 points) turned it up and helped lead the U.S. to victory. From the NY Times: “On Monday night, the Americans had their first true test of this steamy summer in an exhibition game against the Brazilian national team, which features three 6-foot-11 N.B.A. players. Although the United States overcame a shaky start for an 80-69 win in front of President Obama and Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., signs of weakness in the middle were apparent. The Brazilians out-rebounded the Americans by 38-30 and led by as many as 10 points in the first half. The United States had only two blocked shots, and Tyson Chandler, the team’s lone true center, had one rebound in 19 minutes. ‘I was out of position,’ Chandler said. ‘A lot of times we didn’t get bodies because we had two people rotating at the same time, so we let guys free on the glass. We’ve only been together maybe two weeks now. We’re still learning one another and we’re still learning what our defense is about.’ James led the Americans with six rebounds, but Anderson Varejao of Brazil, who plays for the Cleveland Cavaliers, had a game-high 13. [...] Varejao gave Brazil a 27-17 lead, its largest of the game, with 15.9 seconds left in the first quarter. With 3:20 left in the second quarter, the United States took a 30-29 lead after a steal and layup by Chandler. It never trailed again, but it did not lead by more than 14 points, either. Afterward, several of the United States players praised their team’s defense, although Brazil shot 50.9 percent from the floor. At the Olympics in London, the United States will expect contributions in the paint from wing players like James, Kevin Durant and Carmelo Anthony. Otherwise, there could be games that are even closer than Monday night’s.”