Sunday, August 24, 2003

U.S., minus Duncan, tops Virgin Islands

The Associated Press

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico - Tim Duncan decided not to play Saturday against the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he spent the first 18 years of his life, and the American Olympic qualifying team did not need him in a 113-55 victory.

Duncan was in uniform but did not start for the U.S. team in its final game of the first round at the Tournament of the Americas. Elton Brand replaced him, and the U.S. team broke open the game with a 20-0 run in the second quarter.

Duncan had been struggling with the idea of playing against his homeland.

"It's going to be tough, but it's going to be fun. I know a lot of those guys and it will be fun to be out there on the court with them," he said earlier in the week. "But at the same time, I'm kind of torn about it."

Duncan has been the third-leading scorer for the U.S. team, averaging 12.0 points and a team-leading 7-3 rebounds. He was not available for comment before the game.

Allen Iverson led seven Americans scoring in double figures with 17 points, Jason Kidd had 10 assists and Mike Bibby had nine points, six assists and five steals. The Americans shot 73 percent (33-for-45) from 2-point range.

LAKERS: Shaquille O'Neal hopes the sexual assault case against teammate Kobe Bryant doesn't drag on.

"It's an unfortunate situation. Kobe's a teammate of mine and a friend of mine," said O'Neal, who previously had been quiet on the subject.

"I'm very confident in the judicial system, so hopefully this will be resolved quickly. And hopefully it will be pain-free on both sides."

O'Neal added, "I've been instructed not to say anything about it."

Bryant is accused of sexual assault at a Colorado resort hotel June 30.

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U.S., minus Duncan, tops Virgin Islands

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