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Wednesday, August 4, 2004
Updated: August 5, 5:24 PM ET
Iverson sinks buzzer-beating 3-pointer for win

Associated Press

COLOGNE, Germany -- Allen Iverson emphatically answered Dirk Nowitzki.

But the German star still has a lot of questions after the U.S. Olympic team needed Iverson's midcourt buzzer-beater to edge Germany 80-77 in an exhibition game Wednesday -- a day after the Americans' stunning 95-78 loss to Italy.

"If they sent Kevin Garnett and Kobe and everyone else no one in the world would have a chance. But I don't know like this," Nowitzki said. "I'll be very curious to see how they'll do in Athens."

Nowitzki scored 32 points, capped by a 3-pointer over two defenders that tied it at 77 with 3.2 seconds left. But Iverson countered with his second 3-pointer in the final 1{ minutes, prompting Tim Duncan to raise a finger to the sky as if to say, "We're No. 1!" while other team members piled atop Iverson.

"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."

U.S. coach Larry Brown tried to put a positive spin on another embarrassing game.

"We made a lot of improvements over the game last night, but we have a long ways to go," Brown said, adding of his recipe for gold in Athens: "We're going to have pound the ball into Tim Duncan and knock down some outside shots."

But the shaky first two games of the European trip has people wondering if this team is going to be the first to lose in the Olympics since NBA players became eligible for the 1992 Barcelona Games.

Duncan led the Americans with 19 points, Carmelo Anthony added 16 and Iverson finished with 15.

Nowitzki pulled Germany -- a team that failed to qualify for the Athens Games -- to 75-74 with two free throws with 35 seconds left. Anthony's two free throws made it 77-74, setting up the final long-distance drama in front of 18,000 spectators roaring for the Germans and especially the popular Nowitzki.

"You can write the negative or you can write the positive," Iverson said. "But it was good to win a game like this. The crowd was really into it. We have to get used to it in Athens. Everybody will be rooting against us."

The U.S. team plays its first game in Athens against Puerto Rico on Aug. 15 as it tries to win its fifth straight gold medal since NBA players were allowed to compete at the Olympics. The Americans' next exhibition game is against Serbia-Montenegro.