FINAL 1 2 3 4 T
USA 23 34 30 24 111
Puerto Rico 24 27 23 26 100

USA Basketball overcame a slow start in Saturday's victory.
(Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE/Getty Images)

USA Turns Away Puerto Rico

SAPPORO, Japan, Aug. 19 -- After one quarter of play, USA Basketball trailed Puerto Rico by a point in the opening game of the 2006 FIBA World Championship on Saturday.

Thanks to a strong second quarter led by Carmelo Anthony, the deficit quickly went away.

Anthony dropped in nine of his team-high 21 points in the second quarter as Team USA took control of its 111-100 victory.

“It was great for us to get out there," Anthony said. "Once again, it seems like we always bump into Puerto Rico, and I think we came out and took care of business like we’re supposed to. I think we were probably a little over-excited to be out there and finally starting the World games, but once we settled down, we were good.”

USA Basketball fell behind 24-23 after the first period but outscored Puerto Rico 34-23 in the second to surge ahead for good.

LeBron James and Kirk Hinrich added 15 points apiece, and Dwyane Wade chipped in 13 for Team USA, which connected on 67 percent from the field for the game.

“There’s been a lot of preparation to get ready for the Worlds, but it paid off today," James said. "We got off to a slow start but we cranked it up in the second half, we were able to keep them in front of us and got the win. It doesn’t matter how many points you win by, as long as you get a win. It was important for us to come out and take care of business.”

Carlos Arroyo, who hit on 8-of-16 from the floor, led all scorers with 23 points for Puerto Rico.

Team USA will play four more preliminary round games in Group D.

Next up for the United States is China on Sunday at 6:30 a.m. ET on ESPN2.


Photos: Check out Saturday's gallery from Team USA's game against Puerto Rico.
NBA TV Broadband

Aug. 19: USA-PR postgame recap
Aug. 19: USA-Puerto Rico postgame

USAPuerto Rico
PtsAnthony 21Arroyo 23
RebHoward 7Reyes 7
AstPaul 9Arroyo 5

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