Skip to comments.Dream Team Stunned by Puerto Rico 92-73
Posted on 08/15/2004 12:50:40 PM PDT by wagglebee
ATHENS, Greece (AP) - In an upset as historic as it was inevitable, Tim Duncan, Allen Iverson and the rest of the U.S. basketball team lost 92-73 to Puerto Rico on Sunday, only the third Olympic defeat ever for the Americans.
It was also the most lopsided loss in the games for the U.S. team, alarming not only for its significance but also for its decisiveness.
Puerto Rico, which had lost to the Americans five times in the past 13 months, took control in the first half, led by 22 at halftime and gamely held off a fourth-quarter comeback for one of the biggest sports achievements in the island territory's history.
The loss was a blow to the Americans' confidence, but it did little to hurt their gold medal chances. They need only to finish in the top four of their six-team group to reach the quarterfinals.
Still, the defeat will go a long way toward giving the competition the bold idea that it's someone else's turn to move to the top of a sport that's been dominated by one country for nearly three-quarters of a century.
As Carlos Arroyo left the court with just over a minute left, he defiantly pulled at the words "Puerto Rico" on his jersey. He led his team with 24 points.
Anyone in America who didn't see this coming hadn't been paying attention to the way international basketball has been changing. The U.S. nearly lost in the semifinals at Sydney on a last-second miss by Lithuania, then dropped three games on its home turf at the 2002 World Championships in Indianapolis - the first losses ever by a U.S. team of NBA professionals.
This year's team, weakened by the defections and rejections of 12 top players, opened its pre-Olympic tour of Europe with a 17-point loss to Italy and a last-second victory over Germany - a pair of games in which their vulnerability to a tight zone defense was clearly exposed.
Puerto Rico used that defensive strategy, too, and the Americans could do next to nothing against it.
After Lamar Odom made their first 3-pointer, the Americans missed 16 straight. They tried to get the ball inside, but Puerto Rico collapsed several defenders into the paint and took the U.S. team's best player, Duncan, out of the offensive equation.
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 their two losses to the Soviet Union in the 1972 gold medal game and the 1988 semifinals.
They handled the loss to Puerto Rico with grace, congratulating their opponents and joining them in a huddle at center court before both teams exited to a standing ovation.
The U.S Olympic team's record now stands at 109-3.
That being said, will somebody please tell me why they have their own Olympic team.
Whoever picked our team this year should be fired. This was awful!
Same as '88, we have no one who can hit a 3 pointer.
The team was picked from those who were willing to compete. Although the wimmin were fired up, some men didn't want to risk their careers for needless and unpaying games.
That's the way it is.
If Port Richard can have their own team why not Taiwan?
I'll bet they went there thinking it was going to be a cakewalk. I support our atheletes but the men's basketball team has been underwhelming this year.
It's not only the 3 pointers, our players are on an international court.
We need to change our courts in the US if we want to seriously compete in international basketball.
It must be Bush's fault!!!
Call the Kerry campaign... (sarcasm off/)
Think about the 1980 hockey team for example. This was a bunch of mostly high school and college kids who beat the Russians and went on to win the Gold. Many of them never had NHL careers but they will always have that gold medal. There's something special about that. Frankly, I'm not as impressed about Wayne Gretsky or Michael Jordan having a gold medal. When a bunch of NBA or NHL stars collect a gold medal, there's just nothing special about it. In fact, it's expected, which makes the winning of it a ho-hum affair.
But seriously.....the best NBA "stars" would rather stay at home, polish their Escalade's and chase women (and whaterver the hell else elite NBA stars do) rather than play for their country who affords them such riches.
In a twisted way, I'm glad PR but us. The NBA and USA Olympic Basketball have to seriously re-think their positions.
I suggest that we go back to fielding a team of college all-stars who might give a flip. Being on the Olympic team is a small diversion to the collection of multimillionaires that we saw lose today. No doubt they were getting ready to play for the gold against China and Yao Ming and thought this one was in the bag. In a way, it's just as well because the anti-American cheering was depressing and the game was boring. At these games, it's fine for every team to exhibit in-your-face-nationalism except the USA. Even that twirp Arroyo was into this...and PR is an AMERICAN territory, at least it is when we feed 50% of them with welfare payments.
There are few Americans in the NBA who know how to play defense, or how to respond to good defense when they are on offense. NBA basketball is hardly a team sport anymore -- it is a collection of individuals trying to outdo each other.
Hopefully Detroit embarrassing LA this year will turn it around a little bit.
You would think that with the NBA 3-point line farther out...team USA would be very strong on the shorter international court, but it's the opposite...???
I for one had hoped that after the collapse of the Iron Curtain that the Olympics would once again be a contest of true amateurs, instead it has become a "once every four years" hiatus from their professional careers. Then again, the only thing that qualifies Allan Iverson as a "professional" is his salary.
When I saw the U.S Team composed of oversized, freaky looking guys with moronic hair and crazy tattoos all over their bodies, I thought, "What a bunch of losers they have selected to represent this great country". If the U.S. team would have won and moved up the competition ladder, they would have cost the U.S. more in image than the Medals would have brought.
While I agree with the sentiment, an accurate translation is Richport.
Think about it. What is more important to a typical NBA player? Winning a gold medal in the Olympics or having a long and lucrative NBA career?
If an NBA player gets a serious injury in the Olympics, than he could lose millions of dollars in NBA salary. So it goes without saying that an NBA player probably isn't going to go "all out" to win in the Olympics and will be careful not to injure himself and jeopardize his NBA career. Ditto for NHL players.
To your average NBA bigshot, winning a gold medal in the Olympics is just a feather in your cap. But for a 20-year-old college player who will likely never see the NBA, a gold medal represents the highpoint of his life. By stocking our Olympic teams with detached professionals who have already reached the greatest of heights, we are denying many young players the opportunity of a lifetime. And I think that's pretty sad.
no no no, this loss means we must pay MORE taxes for the inevitable basketball subsidy (sp.)
Could it be that our pro-athletes were forced to forgo performance enhancing drugs? As I understand, NBA, NFL, and MLB are permissive when it comes to drugs.
I couldn't agree more. I read an article the other day where Iverson just paid something like $4000.00 in fines for parking his Rolls Royce in a handicap parking space at the Philly airport. His behavior in the NBA has proved he doesn't even give a damn about his own team. How can anyone expect him to care about what he probably views as a "cheap gold coin".
Our NBA is nothing but a bunch of thugs and goons...I hope they get their heads handed to them. Then, next time, we play real Olympians...hungry college kids!
Political correctness, of course. Also, their desire to have their cake and eating it too by enjoying the benefits of US citizenship (and attendant handouts) while maintaining the ruse of being a sovereign nation. It's the same mentality that gives the the gall to demand the the departure of the US Navy from Puerto Rico.
Why would we seriesly want to do that?
Americans beat Americans... That's why the article said the Dream Team was defeated.
Puerto Ricans are as patriotic about America as most Americans raised in the mainland United States.
Puerto Ricans contribute many of its own sons and daughters to the armed services.
And yes, the territories of the United States have unprecedented freedoms compared to the territories of other nations. That is one of the great things about America that leads many nations to envy us.
I was born and raised in one of those territories, American Samoa, and we have our own Olympic team as well. You should've seen the outrage and anger in American Samoa after 9/11. You should see the anger we still have. Samoans are very pro-military, pro-Christian and religion, and pro-America. When I was visiting home, nobody understood the fascination with Abu Ghraib. That wasn't torture. That was barely abuse. I come from an upper middle class family, and I was disciplined for talking back by standing outside of the house in my underwear... When I was 10 years old. When my brother's littered by throwing trash out the window of the car. I made them walk behind the car the last mile home... Another time, when my brothers started fighting and talking back to my father, he made the older one that was fighting strip down to his underwear and walk the last half mile home.
So making murderers and terrorists wear underwear on their heads is nothing compared to what they deserved. I'll agree that it was abusive... but only because it must have been humiliating. But my objection and the objection of most Samoans I've spoken to on the subject of Abu Ghraib was not that it happened. No the objection was to the way it was being covered as if that was torture. Now, all things considered, I also saw the events at the prison as wrong because it was politically damaging to the credibility of our nation. But as for feeling sorry for the prisoners, no I don't make that error of judgment. I just wish it hadn't happened, so that we wouldn't have experienced the set back that that represented to us.
I ramble on when I write... But what I'm saying is that we should be proud that the Puerto Ricans have done as well as they have. And we should keep in mind that the basket ball team we fielded this year is far from the "Dream Team" moniker. They lost previously to other countries over the last two weeks in the demonstration games leading up to the Olympics.
The only Dream team I recognize was put together in the '80's.
I, too, would rather see a return to amateurs. My interest in NBA basketball receded years ago when it ceased to about the sport and rather about their antics. Put amateurs in to represent us and I might be tempted to root for our team in this Olympic sport.
Good point. And those players deserve credit for stepping up. I think it's safe to say they are not the best we have.But those who wouldn't play deserve the blame for the relatively poor showing of the team.
The NBA has quit playing basketball, they play a version of street ball.
What we saw was how to play basketball with no rebounding, no defense, no shooting, no teamwork, poor ball handling, and no coaching. Quite embarrassing IMHO.
What we need are some college boys that want to play ball.
The problem with this dream team is they have no dreams. Great talent but no heart for the sport. They were beaten, beaten by a fine group of young men whose hearts and souls were in the sport. Glad USA is done. Pitiful.
That's because most of the player's ought to be playing prison ball. It's turned into a "gangsta rap" tatoo and jewelry fashion show.
I agree. There is clearly a difference between having the best players and having the best team. The US team does not play together and is the product of a league that doesn't even permit a zone defense, for heaven's sake. And that showed when PR kept getting open three pointers. Our guys were not a team and did not know how to play this game against decent competition.
A bit of hyperbole, eh what?
Taiwan does have its own team. They compete as Chinese Taipei
To match Hong Kong?
Glad USA is done.
They are not done yet. They play again in 48 hours.
The loss reconfirms my not bothering to watch the NBA for the past many years. They lost me long ago. Once was a team sport, now it is gangsters and hotdoggers.
What are you? Some kind of trouble maker? (grin,wink)
They are not a dream team.
Who knows about the shooting though. Why USA Basketball did not bring a balanced team to this games is a real mystery. Most of the guys on the team are post up players who play with their back to the basket. Why there are not 3 or 4 shooters on this team who can hit the outside jump shot is beside me. One would probably have to look at the endorsement contracts to figure that one out.
I suggest there are two things to wonder about here. Is the NBA not good enough anymore to win consistently in niternational competition? Can our athletes be coached into a sufficiently coherent team in the limited time they have together?
Sadly, it seems the only place you can see basketball played as it should be, as a team sport, is in college ball. And even then, it's mostly at the mid-major conference level.
Equally as sad, this won't bother the players on the team at all. They'll come home, hop in their Escalades, throw on their $1200 sunglasses, put on a DVD and turn up the gangsta rap tunes, and laugh about it. After all, winning the Olympics doesn't factor in to their contracts, and taking pride in representing your country might harm their "street cred".
This is disgusting, but as the article said, also inevitable. At least now I feel a tad better about never again watching the NBA.
Not exactly "Hoosiers", I take it.
This is the 1980 Hocket miracle in reverse. It reinforces the idea that a collection of stars is not a team. Our olympic basketball team is not a team. At this point, I would like to see a college dream team that actually practices and plays together to become a dream team. The NBA stars can't/won't dedicate the time to it.
It's still a team game. Looks like a group of superstars can't just mail it in like they used to. Then again, Bird, Magic etc. knew how to play team ball, even if they were not use to playing with each other. Not having to face any real zone in the pro game, the US did not have an answer. Where are the role playing zone busters like a Steve Kerr? At home, no name recognition. Not superstars.