Iverson's heroics give United States thrilling win

Cologne, Germany (Sports Network) - Allen Iverson's running shot from well behind the arc as time expired gave the United States a thrilling and much needed victory over Germany, 80-77, in an Olympic exhibition game.

The United States was nearly upset for the second day in a row until Iverson bailed them out with his clutch basket. The Americans bounced back from Tuesday's shocking blowout loss to an unheralded Italy squad, 95-78.

Iverson ended with 15 points, while Tim Duncan -- a two-time NBA MVP -- netted a team-high 19 points with nine rebounds.

After Iverson's basket, the U.S. players celebrated as if the team had just captured the gold medal. However, the victory came against a team that failed to even qualify for the Athens Games.

The United States will continue its exhibition tour on Friday night against Serbia and Montenegro.

Dirk Nowitzki, who finished with a game-high 32 points, appeared to have sent the game into overtime for the Germans, draining a three-pointer from the left side over two defenders to knot the contest, 77-77, with under five seconds to play in a tight final quarter.

However, Iverson, the U.S. co-captain had the answer. The diminutive guard grabbed the inbound pass, took several dribbles and launched a desperation heave that fell through as the horn sounded. Up to that point, Iverson, a five-time NBA All-Star, had never made a game-winning shot at the buzzer at any level.

"We have a long way to go," said USA head coach Larry Brown afterward.

One of Iverson's four three-pointers came with 1:18 left, staking the U.S. to a 75-72 lead. Nowitzki, Germany's top player and an All-Star forward with the Dallas Mavericks, cut the deficit to 75-74 with two free throws with 35 seconds remaining.

Forced to foul, Germany put Denver Nuggets rookie star Carmelo Anthony on the line. The youngster calmly drained both foul shots, staking the Americans to a 77-74 lead, setting up a wild last 12.4 seconds.

"We need to improve," said Anthony, who chipped in 16 points.

Germany trailed 44-40 at the half, but kept it close and took a brief 53-51 lead in the third quarter. The Americans, though, showed more intensity and defense down the stretch.

The U.S. team plays its first game in Athens against Puerto Rico on August 15.

By The Source
Aug 4, 2004
© Copyright 2004-2005 www.miamifootball365.com

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