No wild celebrations for Puerto Rico this time.
Two days after a stunning victory over the United States, Puerto Rico returned to Olympic men's basketball reality in a 98-90 loss to Lithuania yesterday in Athens.
"It's not a letdown," Puerto Rico center Jose Ortiz said. "As I said the other night, basketball is not consistent always."
Neither was Puerto Rico's offense -- and that cost the team against Lithuania.
Puerto Rico's 56 percent shooting in the 92-73 victory over the United States dropped to 39 percent (25 for 64) against Lithuania, a team that put more pressure on Puerto Rico's shooters -- though the backcourt of Carlos Arroyo and Elias Ayuso each had 25 points.
Ramunas Siskauskas had 23 points for Lithuania (2-0), which shot 54 percent (30 for 56), including 16 for 30 from three-point range, a far cry from the United States' 3-for-24 effort from beyond the arc against Puerto Rico.
Lithuania, which has won the last three Olympic bronze medals, pulled away from Puerto Rico with an 8-0 run early in the fourth quarter. Its lead reached 15 points twice, the last time at 88-73 with 4 minutes 22 seconds to play.
"They put more pressure on Carlos than the other night but we won't use that as an excuse," Ortiz said of Arroyo, who plays for the Utah Jazz. "We didn't shoot as great as we did the other night."
Puerto Rico could go from Olympic conqueror to vanquished.
The top four teams in each six-team group move on to the quarterfinals, and Puerto Rico needs to win at least one and possibly two of its final three games against Angola, Greece and Australia to advance and get a shot at its first Olympic medal.
"It could happen but I don't think we're going to be out," Ortiz said. "I think we're going to be in."
* SERBIA AND MONTENEGRO 74, ITALY 72: Milos Vujanic hit a pair of free throws with 5.6 seconds to play to give world champion Serbia and Montenegro its first win of the tournament.
Gianluca Basile had a chance to tie the game, but his 12-footer clanged off the rim as time ran out, spoiling Italy's eight-point comeback in the final two minutes.
* CHINA 69, NEW ZEALAND 62: Yao Ming bounced back from a rough opening game with 39 points and 13 rebounds. The 7-foot-6 center from the Houston Rockets had 12 points and eight rebounds in an opening loss to Spain, but took over from the start against New Zealand, finishing 15 for 20 from the field and keying China's effective zone defense inside. Phillip Jones had 23 points for New Zealand.
* SPAIN 87, ARGENTINA 76: Few thought it would be Spain with the only 2-0 record in a group that features Serbia and Montenegro, the reigning world champion; Argentina, which finished second in that tournament two years ago; and New Zealand, which was fourth in the world championships.
Pau Gasol, who plays for the Memphis Grizzlies, had 26 points and eight rebounds in the win.
* AUSTRALIA 45, ANGOLA 29: Australia cruised behind Shane Heal's 18 points.