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Newz Forum: OLYMPICS: US BAasketball finish 3-2 in prelims

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posted on Aug, 23 2004 @ 09:31 AM
Tim Duncan caught a pass in the opening moments of the first quarter, and found just one defender, not two, guarding him.

It was the first time in the Athens Olympics he had seen such a scheme, and Duncan gladly took advantage by dropping in a shot.

The rest of the Americans got a taste of what it was like in the good ol' days, too, finally playing an opponent they were able to beat easily, routing Angola 89-53 on Monday in their final game of the preliminary round.

Duncan finished with a team-high 15 points in limited minutes, and the Americans dominated the boards Barcelona-style with a 52-17 edge in rebounding as NBA commissioner David Stern watched from a seat 10 rows behind the American bench.

The United States, which had already locked up a berth in the quarterfinals, awaited the results of Monday's late games to learn whether it will play Spain, Argentina or Italy on Thursday.

Angola had played well in two of its four losses, falling by just five points to Lithuania and three to Puerto Rico. But it was thoroughly outclassed this time by an American team that had yet to experience a blowout -- except in defeat.

The Americans grabbed 28 of the first 32 rebounds, made their first two 3-point shots and broke out their highlight-reel material to finish the preliminary round at 3-2, including losses to Puerto Rico and Lithuania.

Rather than use the type of tight 2-3 zone all the Americans' previous opponents used, Angola (0-5) went with a matchup zone that left Duncan in single coverage. Duncan and Allen Iverson scored the Americans' first 13 points, and the Americans had a 16-2 edge in rebounding to end the first quarter with a 23-14 lead.

Shawn Marion took the U.S. team's first 3-point attempt 82 seconds into the second quarter and made it for a 28-14 lead, and LeBron James hit a 3 to make it 33-14.

The Americans were up 46-26 at halftime before Duncan scored their first six points of the third quarter, and an alley-oop reverse layup by Richard Jefferson off a pass from Iverson got the lead up to 30 less than four minutes into the second half.

It was 75-39 after three quarters, and Emeka Okafor, who had played a total of just two minutes in the U.S. team's first four games, was on the floor for the entire fourth quarter but failed to score.

James and Carlos Boozer had 11 points each and Iverson added 10.

Valter Monteiro led Angola with 20 points.

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