JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- Reunited, and it feels so ... familiar.
The U.S. Olympic team tipped off its exhibition season with an easy 96-71 victory over Puerto Rico on Saturday, although the most intriguing action came beforehand between old sparring partners Larry Brown and Allen Iverson.
Brown held Iverson, LeBron James and Amare Stoudemire out of the game for showing up late to a pregame meeting, a move that brought back memories of the six fractious seasons Brown and Iverson spent together with the Philadelphia 76ers.
"They broke a team rule, and we are a team," Brown said. "They paid the penalty. Nobody wanted to embarrass them, and now we're moving on."
Said Iverson:"I'm the captain on the team and to be suspended just for being a couple minutes late just doesn't sit well for me. I'm supposed to be one of the leaders of the team, and this is not a good look."
Carmelo Anthony and Carlos Boozer led the Americans with 16 points each. Dwyane Wade had eight assists. Tim Duncan finished with 15 points and 10 rebounds. Shawn Marion finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.
There were rough spots, too.
The U.S. team was just 3-for-7 from 3-point range, and Puerto Rico trailed by just five before halftime. The Americans tore off 10 of the first 14 points in the third quarter to go ahead comfortably.