Team USA crushes Tunisia after poor start01/08/2012 -
Second half was showtime for the Americans who turned a 13-point first half lead to 47
Team USA improved to 2-0 in the Olympic tournament Tuesday night against Tunisia, with six players in double figures. The Americans finally pulled away after a booming second half, when Mike Krzyzewski started the reserves and with a 13-point first half lead, to make it a 110-63 win for the US.
USA’s victory didn’t come easy, as the Tunisians put up a fight in the first half. In a game that wasn’t expected to be close for more than the first minutes of the game, Tunisia came in fearless and even took a lead in the first quarter against a sloppy American team.
Team US maybe expected this game to be something like a practice. They had top competition in their last games, both exhibition against Spain and Argentina, as well as the first Olympic game against France. Tunisia looked like a breather for the Americans and a chance to get accustomed to the Olympic arena and the international officiating.
They had to work hard though to make this look easy.
Makram Ben Romdhane scored 22 points for Tunisia, who found themselves battling head to head against a team way stronger than theirs. Tunisia lead the first quarter by 3 points with 3:30 to go, when the US sexond unit made a final 9-point run for a 21-15 first quarter advantage. "It's a dream for us to see these kinds of players, but now we play with them," Ben Romdhane said. Tunisia wasn’t supposed to go down easily though, even against these players.
Carmelo Anthony made a 3-pointer at the beginning of the second quarter and Russell Westbrook followed with a jumper to make it a 26-15 lead. The expected US blowout seemed like it was about to happen.
The Tunisians hadn’t had their last word though, as later on the second quarter Marouan Kechrid made two consecutive three-pointers and then nailed another one to cut the lead to just 6 points, with 3:30 to go. This was when the Americans took complete lead of the game with an 11-point run that gave them a 46-33 first half lead.
Team USA relied a lot on their bench players against Tunisia. Whenever their starters couldn’t get the job done, the second unit played harder and more competitive so that USA never really lost the upper hand. "That was a great lift, man. That's the best thing about this team, there's no drop off," said Kevin Durant. "We've got All-Stars off the bench. Those guys did a great job for us."
The second half was all about the US team, who finally gave their audience the show they expected them to put on, taking absolute control of the game. The US made everything work perfectly in the second half, shutting down Tunisia’s offensive game and going hard in the paint, where they usually finished their effort with a slam. Tunisia finished the game shooting with 35 percent from the field, while they couldn’t hold off the Americans who took advantage of their athleticism in the second half, making things happen close to the basket and not beyond the arc.
The US missed their first 10 out of 12 three pointers with a total percentage of 40 in the game. This didn’t prove to be a problem for them Tuesday, but could become an important factor if it happens again as the Americans go on in the Olympic tournament Thursday against Nigeria.