It was a tale of two halves for the U.S. mens basketball team as their first half performance was anything but a work of art. The heavily favored American team got off to a slow start against the Tunisian national team Tuesday in London. Appearing lethargic and unmotivated, the U.S. team did not look like the number one team in the world. Instead it was Tunisia who came out swinging. Taking it right to the Americans, Tunisia held a lead for the early part of the first quarter. Unhappy with the starters lack of intensity, U.S. Head Coach Mike Krzyzewski went to his bench much earlier than expected. Similar to a hockey line change, Krzyzewski pulled all five starters, and then the Americans began to pull away.
Deron Williams, Andre Iguodala, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love and Russell Westbrook were able to create a little separation heading into the break 46-33.
To start the third quarter, Krzyzewski stayed with his bench and opted to leave superstars such as Lebron James, Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant on the bench. This proved to be the right move by the all-time winningest coach in NCAA Men’s basketball history. The U.S. team opened the third quarter by taking the Tunisians to the woodshed with a 21-3 run, turning that 46-33 halftime lead into a lopsided margin of 67-36.
The game was all but decided.
The Americans would dazzle the crowd with a highlight reel of dunks over the span of the rest of the game. Durant, James, and Iguodala took turns rocking the rim as they seemed to be having a dunk contest amongst themselves. Rookie Anthony Davis made sure he got in on the action as he threw down 12 points, literally. All of the 19-year-old’s points came by various ways of dunking. They also found their stroke from the outside, shooting 7-11 from beyond the arc.
The Tunisians were put out of their misery when the final buzzer sounded and the 110-63 victory for the Americans was in the books. Despite the beatdown that he had received, Tunisian Forward Mohamed Hdidane made sure he got Kobe Bryant to autograph his shoe while shaking hands after the game.
The U.S. improves to 2-0 in their quest for gold at the London Olympics while Tunisia falls to 0-2. The U.S. is the only remaining unbeaten team in their pool and will take on Nigeria Thursday, August 2nd.