Brazil overcame a double-digit deficit and beat Greece 79-78 in a thriller at the FIBA World Cup in Nanjing, China, on Tuesday.
NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo finished with 13 points but fouled out late in the fourth quarter for Greece.
Brazil's Alex Garcia, 39, seemed to stifle Antetokounmpo at every turn.
"Why this sport is wonderful," Brazil coach Aleksandar Petrovic said. "You have a guy who won MVP, he's 23 years old, and who stops him tonight? The guy who is 40 years old and kicks his ass."
Anderson Varejao, who last played in the NBA with the Golden State Warriors two years ago, led the way for Brazil with 22 points and nine rebounds, hitting seven of 10 shots in the second half.
Varejao hit a critical jumper for Brazil with 14 seconds left and Leandro Barbosa hit a final free throw for a three-point edge.
Greece's Kostas Sloukas had three free throws with two seconds left that would have tied the score, but he made only two. Bruno Caboclo took advantage of FIBA rules and batted the ball away to seal the win for Brazil.
"We showed that we have several players who can stop Antetokounmpo," Petrovic said. "But yesterday I was more occupied with Sloukas and [Georgios] Printezis, and that's what happened today. When I was preparing this game, a lot of people talked and joked about how to stop Antetokounmpo. I had for six months in my head, since the semifinals between Toronto and Milwaukee, how to stop Antetokounmpo. The problem tonight for us was Sloukas and Printezis."
Brazil improved to 2-0 and moved closer to the second round. Greece fell to 1-1 in Group F and will need a win in its final group game with New Zealand.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.