Iverson#039;s shot lifts USA by Germany

Published 12:00 am Thursday, August 5, 2004

COLOGNE, Germany - Things are not looking good for the NBA stars on the U.S. Olympic basketball team.

The Americans needed a final-shot 3-pointer by Allen Iverson from just across midcourt Wednesday to pull out an 80-77 exhibition victory over Germany - a team that failed to even qualify for the Athens Games.

A day after losing 95-78 to unheralded Italy, the U.S. players celebrated their last-gasp triumph against Germany as though they had won an NBA championship. When Iverson's second 3-pointer in the final 1 1/2 minutes went through the net, two-time league MVP Tim Duncan raised a finger to the sky as if to say, ''We're No. 1!'' Other team members piled atop Iverson on the court.

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''That was great. It felt good because it was the first time in my life I hit a buzzer beater like that,'' Iverson said. ''That's what basketball is all about.''

Duncan led the Americans with 19 points, followed by Carmelo Anthony with 16 and Iverson with 15. But the United States again struggled against a team thought to be no competition.

The Germans' top player, Dallas Mavericks All-Star Dirk Nowitzki, appeared to have sent the game to overtime by making a 3-pointer over two defenders to tie the score at 77 with 3.2 seconds left. Nowitzki scored a game-high 32 points.