Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dream Team II Avoids Nightmare after Trailing, U.S. Tops Spain 115-100 in World Basketball

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Dream Team II Avoids Nightmare after Trailing, U.S. Tops Spain 115-100 in World Basketball

Article excerpt

Spain was thrilled to score 100 points and lose by 15 to Dream Team II, but DT2 wasn't so happy with its performance in its first game of the 1994 World Championship of Basketball.

The Spaniards found cracks in the American defense Thursday night, but the U.S. team's talent ultimately proved too much for Spain in a 115-100 decision.

"We never said we wanted to match Dream Team I," said Joe Dumars, who scored 21 points on eight-for-11 shooting. He made five of eight from 3-point range. "We just want to win the gold medal and dominate our games. Spain kept it closer that we would've liked, but we still won and we still plan to go on to the gold medal."

When the U.S. team trailed by a point late in the first half, the question wasn't whether it was as good as Dream Team I, but whether it could beat Spain, fifth in the European championships. The ease with which Spain scored on the Americans leaves some doubt about how the heavy gold medal favorites will fare the rest of the 11-day tournament. Dream Team I never allowed more than 85 points in eight Olympic games. DT1 beat Spain by 41 points in the '92 Olympics.

"I am very happy with our performance and very proud of my players," Spain coach Manuel Sainz said. "To lose by just 15 points and score 100 points was very good for us."

Reggie Miller scored 20 points and made four 3-pointers for the Americans, who pulled away in the second half as Sainz benched several of the players who did so well in the first 20 minutes.

"This was a wakeup call, and we needed it," Miller said. "Everybody was catering to us and patting us on the back. But we were never concerned that they would beat us. We were surprised that the big guys who shot so well in the first half didn't play anymore. I guess he was saving them for a rainy day."

Dumars, the only U.S. team member with an National Basketball Association championship ring, scored 12 points in the first 10 minutes 7 seconds. When his 3-pointer with 9:53 remaining in the first half gave the United States a 34-22 advantage, the Americans looked unstoppable.

But for the next four minutes, the Spaniards dominated, outscoring the U.S. team 20-7 for a 42-41 edge with 5:26 left. …

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