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Newz Forum: OLYMPICS: USA Basketball shows signs of improvement

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posted on Aug, 26 2004 @ 08:43 AM
Stephon Marbury set a U.S. Olympic team record with 31 points Thursday as the Americans grabbed 12 3-pointers and eliminate the previously undefeated Spain from medal contention with a 102-94 quarterfinals victory.

Marbury surpassed his total from the Americans' first five games by 10 as the U.S. team that spent the first week and a half of the Olympics missing jumpers finally found its range.

"I just decided I was going to let the game come to me," Marbury said. "I was going to come in and let it flow."

It was the U.S. team's best all-around performance of the Olympics, and not only in terms of shooting. They didn't let a large foul disparity rattle them, knocked down their free throws when they needed them and surpassed 100 points for the first time in the tournament.

Marbury broke the U.S. record of 30 points shared by Charles Barkley (1992 v. Brazil) and Adrian Dantley (1976 vs. Yugoslavia).

American coach Larry Brown and Spanish coach Mario Pesquera had a brief altercation as the teams left the court, the two pointing angrily at each other before being separated by their assistants.

Allen Iverson added 16 points, Carlos Boozer had 12 and Lamar Odom 11 for the Americans, who advanced to the semifinals against the winner of the Argentina-Greece game.

Pau Gasol led Spain with 29 points, but was held to just four in the fourth quarter by a tenacious American defensive effort.

Duncan scored the Americans' first five points and blocked Spain's first shot, but he was on the bench just 4 1/2 minutes into the quarter and stayed there for the rest of the first half after quickly picking up two fouls. The U.S. team made four of its first five 3-point attempts, and the first quarter ended in a 25-25 tie.

A seesaw second quarter included the Americans going ahead by eight points led by the defensive energy of Dwyane Wade before Spain rallied back with an 11-0 run. The United States led 44-43 at halftime despite giving up 18 points to Gasol and being called for 14 of the game's 19 fouls.

Marbury hit a pair of 3s early in the third quarter, and Brown took a risk by leaving Duncan in after he picked up his third foul with 5:22 left. Marbury reached 21 points - matching his total from the Americans' first five games - on a 3-pointer that gave the U.S. team a 63-56 lead.

A 7-0 run by Spain tied it before Carmelo Anthony ended the quarter with a 3-pointer to give the Americans a 74-67 lead.

Odom drew his fifth and final foul with 5:29 left and the Americans ahead 80-73, and it was 82-78 before Marbury hit the team's 12th 3-pointer, Calderon missed on a drive and Duncan had a putback for an 87-78 edge.

Gasol didn't score his first points of the fourth quarter until 2:02 remained, and the Americans made seven straight free throws after Spain started intentionally fouling to stay comfortably ahead.

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