21 Aug 2003 07:18:39
United States 110, Brazil 76


SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) -- The first half was flawed. After that,
the U.S. team looked fantastic.

Tim Duncan shot 8-for-10 from the field, Elton Brand scored 17 points
and the United States dominated the second half to beat Brazil 110-76
on Wednesday night in their opener at the FIBA-Americas Olympic
qualifying tournament.

``They didn't surprise us. We had to play our best to win,'' U.S.
coach Larry Brown said.

There were some nervous moments for the Americans in the first half as
they were sloppy with the ball, failed to defend the 3-point line and
fell behind by as many as 10 points. But the U.S. team closed the half
with an 11-5 run, then outscored Brazil 31-8 in the third quarter to
turn it into a blowout.

``I don't think we were surprised that the first half was so close. We
have a lot of respect for the teams we're playing against,'' Brown
said. ``This whole tournament is not going to be easy for us, and we
recognize that.''

Brazil, the gold medalist at the Pan American Games, was at its best
when forward Nene was on the court. But his coach made a questionable
move in the first half, reinserting him into the game with three
fouls. He quickly picked up his fourth and did not return until late
in the third quarter -- which by then was too late.

Duncan finished with 17 points, Tracy McGrady had 15, Vince Carter 14,
Ray Allen 13, Mike Bibby 11 and Allen Iverson 10.

Nene, who said his third and fourth fouls were bad calls, had 17
points to lead Brazil.