U.S. routed in opener



The Americans were embarrassed by Puerto Rico, their worst loss ever.
ATHENS, Greece (AP) -- Greetings from the Olympic men's basketball tournament, where America is tied for last place with Angola, Australia, New Zealand, China and the defending world champions from Serbia-Montenegro.
Yes, it was quite a first day.
"Never say never. Anything can happen," Allen Iverson said after the United States lost for only the third time in its Olympic history in a humbling and humiliating 92-73 thumping by Puerto Rico that should end all doubt about whether the rest of the world has caught up with America.
Other nations certainly have, and it was all on display for anyone who still needed convincing.
Sunday's most shocking result came as whatever remained of America's aura of invincibility slipped away in a lopsided loss that left the U.S. coach embarrassed and angry.
Behind by 22 at half
Tim Duncan, Iverson and the rest of the U.S. team fell behind by 22 at halftime to a team they had always dominated, and the best they could do in the second half was pull within nine for their first-ever Olympic loss with a team of professionals.
"No one's in awe. Everyone wants to come out and play their best game against us. That's the spirit of the Olympics," U.S. forward Lamar Odom said. "You shouldn't feel bad for us. You should feel good for Puerto Rico."
Play resumes Tuesday, with the Americans suddenly filled with self-doubt heading into a game against a Greek team whose fans filled the Helliniko basketball complex with roars of delight in the night's final game.
The Americans' loss was a blow to the their confidence, but it did little to hurt their medal chances. They need only to finish in the top four of their six-team group to reach the quarterfinals.
"Obviously, we are the favorites to win the whole thing," Iverson said. "We have the NBA players, so it is a tough loss, but the only thing you can do is learn from the things we did wrong and try to make it better the next game."
Arroyo leads Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico had a couple of NBA players, too, and one of them -- Carlos Arroyo -- was the best professional on the court with 24 points. As he exited the game with just over a minute remaining and the victory well in hand, he defiantly pulled at the words "Puerto Rico" on his jersey.
"That was him telling his island of 4 million people he was very proud to beat the big colossus from the north," Puerto Rico coach Julio Toro said.
It was by far the worst Olympic defeat ever for the U.S. men, and having it happen against a team they had dominated five times in the last 13 months only made it hurt worse.
"I'm humiliated, not for the loss -- I can always deal with wins and losses -- but I'm disappointed because I had a job to do as a coach, to get us to understand how we're supposed to play as a team and act as a team, and I don't think we did that," Larry Brown said.
American teams had been 24-0 since the professional Olympic era began with the 1992 Dream Team, but now there is a blemish on their record to go with two losses to the Soviet Union in the 1972 gold medal game and the 1988 semifinals.
The U.S Olympic team's record now stands at 109-3.

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