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Last Updated: Saturday, 31 July, 2004, 20:21 GMT 21:21 UK
USA coast to victory
Carmelo Anthony grabbed 16 points for the US

The USA defeated Puerto Rico 96-71 in an Olympic warm-up game despite missing Allan Iverson, LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire.

Coach Larry Brown, who used to be Iverson's boss at Philadelphia, benched the trio for missing a team meeting earlier in the day.

Carmelo Anthony and Carlos Boozer led the Americans with 16 points each, while Dwyane Wade had eight assists.

Tim Duncan finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds against his country's opening-game opponents in Athens.

The US made a quick start but went off the boil in the second quarter, although this was partly due to playing with only two guards, only one of whom, Stephon Marbury, is a true point guard.

The Americans also has trouble shooting outside, going just 3-for-7 from three-point range.

We are a team - they broke a team rule, they paid the price
Coach Larry Brown on his suspended stars

By contrast, Larry Ayuso hit five three-pointers to keep Puerto Rico close in the second quarter.

And when Carlos Arroyo made a steal and lay-up, Puerto Rico trailed by just five before half-time.

The Americans tore off 10 of the first 14 points in the third quarter to go ahead comfortably again.

The US team now travels to Germany, where it will continue with workouts and exhibitions until the Olympics, where they play Puerto Rico on 15 August.

Brown's decision to suspend Iverson was not popular with the sell-out crowd in Jacksonville.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the fans chanted for Iverson, but their pleas went unanswered.





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