Hold on one second.
OK, we can start now that Amare Stoudemire has finally picked himself off the floor after Carlos Arroyo faked him out of his hightops.
Talk about your upsets. It's like the Washington Generals beating the Globetrotters. The Clippers making the playoffs. Michael Moore voting for George Bush.
After losing to an island nation with a population just slightly smaller than Allen Iverson's posse, what's next for the U.S. men's basketball team? What's next for a team that just lost to a country that has sent five players to the NBA and whose best player was once waived by the Toronto Raptors?
Luckily, Page 2 knows what will happen during the rest of the Olympic tournament ...
During practice, Richard Jefferson dunks during a shooting drill and lets out a big scream. Larry Brown tells Jefferson that maybe he should work instead on his 3-point shooting.
August 17: U.S. vs. Greece
After the dismal performance against Puerto Rico, the U.S. scouts and coaches spend hours breaking down film for their next game against host-country Greece. Only at game time does Brown realize that the film they were watching was actually "Grease," staring John Travolta and Oliva Newton-John.
The game plan of double-teaming Kenickie and denying Danny Zuko the post is quickly abandoned. Bizarrely, Brown still tells the team to watch out for Rizzo on the perimeter.
The U.S. loses to Greece 93-58 while shooting 31 percent from the floor. Afterwards, Stephon Marbury, who was just 1 for 10, tells the press, "You know, the fact is I'm just not as good as everyone believes. Think about it: the Timberwolves finally win a playoff series -- after I'm gone. The Nets make it to two straight NBA Finals -- after I leave. Expect the Suns to be much improved this season. As for the Knicks, well, let's just say Spike Lee better not be expecting us to knock off the Pistons."
August 19: U.S. vs. Australia
Trailing 28-16 in the second quarter, Jefferson ferociously jams the ball through the rim and lets out a huge yelp. Brown tells Jefferson to give the ball back to Tim Duncan and let him shoot his free throws.
Australia wins 88-72. "The truth is," Shawn Marion tries to explain, "is that we were all resting for the game last night when Poppy showed us this calendar of all these hot female Australian athletes who had posed nude. Well, we spotted some of them in the crowd during the game and I guess we just weren't concentrating out there. And no more questions -- I gotta run. I've got a date with this field hockey player."
During an offday practice session, the U.S. team misfires on 43 consecutive 3-pointers. But Iverson throws a nifty alley-oop to Jefferson, who slams the ball through the net and lets out a scream.
August 21: U.S. vs. Lithuania
Many members of Team USA nearly miss their game against Lithuania when just getting out of their hotel -- the Queen Mary II -- seems to be a challenge.
LeBron James spends most of the morning trying to determine which door in his luxury suite actually leads out of the room.
In trying to find out the shuttle schedule to the mainland, Carmelo Anthony gets into a fight with the ship's crew when they are completely confused by his questions when he refers to himself only in the third person.
Lamar Odom never makes the game and was last seen heading to his room with "a welcome package from the Amsterdam delegation."
It takes nearly three hours to coax Dwyane Wade out of his walk-in closet after he mistakenly ordered "Titanic" from the ship's pay-per-view library.
Finally, after promising a gold medal for the U.S., Carlos Boozer leaves the team and signs with Angola for more money.
Jefferson misses all eight of his 3-point attempts, but trailing 51-19 in the third quarter, slams the ball home, lets out a primordial yell, and then steps on the chest of his fallen defender. The Lituanian comes back down the court and drains a 3-pointer for a 54-21 lead. Lithuania goes on to a 95-71 victory.
Afterwards, Tim Duncan quits the team, saying he's defecting back to the Virgin Islands to play for their national team.
Michael Phelps is recuited to fill Duncan's spot on the roster. Brown says Phelps reminds him of Duncan with his long wingspan and "after all, Duncan was a swimmer before picking up hoops."
Due to a scheduling conflict during practice, Team USA must share the court with the women. After Lisa Leslie and Diana Taurasi score 23 unanswered points on the men, Brown quits the team and agrees to coach Angola.
August 23: U.S. vs. Angola
In its final shot to make it to the medal round, Team USA faces off against serial patsy Angola. Phelps is given John Stockton's old uniform to wear, but complains that the shorts are too small so he wears his swimsuit instead. He immediately drains four 3-pointers to give the U.S. the lead.
The U.S. leads by 14 early in the third quarter when Iverson tries an alley-oop pass, but Stoudemire, Marion, Anthony and James, unclear who the pass was intended for, all leap high for the ball and knock heads. All are forced to leave the game with concussions.
Phelps finishes with 36 points, all from beyond the arc, but Angola is led by Brown's strong game plan and Carlos Boozer's triple-double and avenges years of losing to Team USA with a 78-77 win. The U.S. has a final shot at victory, but Jefferson clanks a dunk attempt at the buzzer.
* * * * *
David Stern sits in his really big office at NBA headquarters. "Perfect," he says to himself as he looks over the Manhattan skyline. "I stacked the team just how I wanted, with a bunch of young guys who will sell lots of uniforms but can't shoot. The rest of the world now thinks it can compete with us. This will make the NBA more popular than ever. I can't wait to put teams in Europe. Do they play basketball in Norway? I wonder if Beijing can support a franchise? How many billions will our next TV contract be worth? Let's start printing up those Giacomo Galanda jerseys. They're going to be huge in Italy!"