United States Beats Tunisia After Strong Second Half
The United States of America played its second game in group stage today versus the less talented Tunisian team. The Americans were heavily favored entering the game and it was essentially a forgone conclusion that the game would be over in the first quarter.
In the first period, the United States struggled to score the ball and its offense was very stagnant. Unlike in the other matches, the ball was not going in the net and as a result the Americans could not open up a comfortable lead. No one expected Tunisia to even compete with the Americans, but it was battling well against the almighty United States.
The US players have taken advantage of the shorter three point line in these Olympics, but their perimeter shots were not connecting in the opening quarter. On the other hand, the Tunisian players were in a groove and they stayed Team USA in the first ten minutes. Headed back to the bench, USA held just a 21-15 lead.
The second quarter offered the same result as the first period as the USA could not extend its lead. Tunisia matched the opponent’s every move, something no one expected. Although players like LeBron James and Kevin Durant offered highlight reel plays for the Americans, the Tunisians never let that rattle them.
Romdhane was a player the United States had trouble guarding as he was lights off from the perimeter. No one saw him as an offensive threat, but the USA saw his true value in the period.
The Americans shot just 2-12 from the three-point arc, but they opened their lead heading into halftime. Every great team understands the benefit of closing out quarters strong, and in today’s game, the USA extended its cushion during the final minutes of the second.
After 20 minutes of play, the Americans were leading 46-33. Durant led the way with nine points, followed by Anthony with seven.
The coaching staff began the third quarter with a different lineup, and all of the starters were watching the second unit while on the bench. The reserves played much better than the starters and the coaches rewarded them with some extra minutes.
Carmelo Anthony continued to play well for the Americans and the Tunisians had trouble limiting him when the ball reached his hand. In addition to Anthony’s hot shooting, the ball movement was very sharp and that allowed Team USA to increase its advantage. The second unit played with great cohesion and the United States quickly opened up a 55-33 lead with 8:00 to play in the period.
The performance of the second unit compared to that of the starting five was like night and day. Tunisia could do very little to stop the reserves and the Americans eventually took complete control of the game. Everyone on the court was playing at a high level and momentum was on the United States’ side. At the 4:00 mark, the United States was leading by 33, 69-36.
After a disappointing first half, the Americans responded well in the third and took a 85-47 lead heading into the fourth period.
The outcome of the game was determined before the fourth quarter started, but it was a chance for the young players to gain some Olympic experience. Still even though Tunisia faced an insurmountable deficit, the US coaching staff chose to have James, Durant and Chris Paul on the court.
Anthony Davis was a bright spot for the United States and he showed what he can do during these Games. Davis was the recipients of many alley-oop passes and the entire team cheered the rookie whenever he made a great play. Davis has been a great teammate and listener during the Olympics, something that has helped him gain the respect from the other stars.
There was never a moment in the fourth period where Tunisia made a meaningful run and whenever it made a nice play, the Americans answered back with one of their own.
Once the final buzzer rang, the United States walked off with a commanding 110-63 win. The Americans’ leading scorers were Anthony and Kevin Love with 16 points each. The US also stepped up from the three-point arc and finished shooting 10 for 25.