Their best player had fouled out, their best guard was nursing a broken thumb, and Greece had a chance to pull within two points with 18 seconds
Lamar Odom defended the play perfectly for the Americans, keeping his hand high and preventing Dimitris Pipanikoulaou from getting a clean layup
attempt. Odom rebounded the miss and made two free throws to lock up the U.S. team's 77-71 victory Tuesday night in its second game of the
In a much closer contest than expected, the Americans bounced back from their embarrassing loss to Puerto Rico in their opener and avoided dropping to
0-2, which would have matched their loss total from the previous 68 years.
The U.S. team got the win because of big plays from Odom and Carlos Boozer down the stretch after Tim Duncan had fouled out and Allen Iverson --
playing despite a broken thumb -- cooled off following a strong start.
The game was a spectacle in many ways, from the Greek fans waving blue and white flags to U.S. coach Larry Brown angrily gesturing at the referees. A
close game such as this was rare in previous Olympics, but now it appears to be something the Americans should get used to.
Iverson scored 17 points, 13 of them in the first half, and Duncan had 13 of his 14 points in a third quarter in which he picked up three fouls,
setting the stage for a tight fourth quarter.
Comments: I still feel as though the USA Basketball team should not be here in Athens, they barely pulled off a win agasint a sub-par team, and this
team was on the verge of winning. I saw many plays that the US just got lucky on and got away with some calls. But in the end they luckly pulled it
off. There is no way that this team is going to win gold. The team was joking around on the bench with 18 seconds with when they should have had their
game faces on. They aren't taking anything serious, and i feel dis-respected as a fan for a team like this to be representing us in Athens.
I was talking to TRD while the game was on and he had made a valid point in the fact that many players in other countries train 4 years for this
moment, and the US thinks they can meet 3 weeks before. Its a joke this US team, they have horrible shooting right now, they can't make a three
pointer, they can't shoot-free throws, and there best player fouled out early in the 4th. This team is a JOKE.
[Edited on 8/17/2004 by Ben]