Yao Ming bounces back for China

Aug. 17, 2004 at 5:31 PM
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ATHENS, Greece, Aug. 17 (UPI) -- Paced by Carlos Boozer and Allen Iverson, the United States fought off the home team Tuesday night for a 77-71 Olympic victory over Greece.

After losing in the Olympics with NBA players for the first time on Sunday, and receiving piles of criticism because of it, the Americans played with more passion.

But it almost was not enough as Greece, backed by their fervent fans, rallied time and again. The Americans had a nine-point lead in the fourth quarter, only to have it to four.

Lamar Odom hit two free throws with 15.5 seconds for the final margin and Shawn Marion came up with a steal downcourt to seal the contest.

"They missed some shots and They missed some free throws," said American Coach Larry Brown. "But they played with heart and that is all you can ask."

Allen Iverson, playing with a non-displaced fracture in his right thumb, had a team-high 17 points. Boozer, despite suffering a stomach ailment, played extensive minutes with center Tim Duncan got in foul trouble.

After two games in Group B, only Lithuania is unbeaten. At 1-1, the Americans next face Australia on Thursday.

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