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USA Basketball remains unimpressive, undefeated with 92-57 win over Tunisia

Sep 2, 2010, 11:41 AM EDT

Kryzewski_USA.jpgOnly USA basketball can win a game by 35 points and not impress doing it.

But that was the case with the USA’s 92-57 win over Tunisia. The USA exits FIBA World Championship pool play 5-0 and is now off until Monday when it will take on Angola in the round of 16 — the first of the one-and-done knockout rounds.

Undefeated or not, the USA did not impress Thursday. If this were a high school team, their next practice would be filled with running suicides. Then, while the team stood bent over gasping for air on the baseline with hands grabbing shorts, Coach K would walk out to the free throw line, try to find the words, just shake his head and say “again” then blow his whistle.

The issues were really in the first half, when the USA’s recent trends of a stagnant half-court offense, questionable shot selections and turnovers plagued them. The USA took a lot of threes early in the clock and went 0-8 from deep to start. The offense was listless at best. A fired up Tunisian team was playing its best and they hung around. The score was 19-13 USA after one and 39-33 at the half.

The USA has become dependant on their pressure defense to create turnovers and easy transition basket. Which is fine, but there is no steady Plan B to fall back on. When a team like Tunisia comes in and can withstand the pressure without sloppy turnovers, the USA starts to struggle to score.

In the first half, Kevin Durant was the exception, scoring 9 of the USA’s first 11 points on his way to 14 points.

Another issue — Tunisia had 20 offensive rebounds in this game. That
would be 38 percent of their missed shots where they got a second
chance. Rebounding is about desire, and the fact the Tunisia got the
boards talks to the focus and motivation Team USA had for this one.

The second half was more traditional USA blowout, with the defense forcing turnovers and an open floor for the USA’s superior athletes to run wild.

Eric Gordon looked very good for the USA, dropping 21 points. He has been a bit spotty after a very strong opening game (and training camp) for USA basketball, but he was back for a half against Tunisia. Russell Westbrook added 14 and Steph Curry had 13, as the USA bench guards had a good day.

The USA has three days of practices now to right the offensive ship. Then they get a very winnable game against Angola on Monday. But after that it’s going to get tough — three games from a gold medal and it could be Spain followed by other top teams like Argentina and Turkey.

If the USA plays in those games like it did in the first half against Tunisia, it will not be undefeated any more.

  1. johnmaine - Sep 2, 2010 at 12:16 PM

    Great college football preview for the SEC: http://bit.ly/bh2vLD

  2. lee - Sep 2, 2010 at 12:52 PM

    is it just me, or has curry looked really awful this whole tournament? I know he’s a great shooter, but whenever he is handling the ball i just don’t trust his decision making. westbrook and gordon have been severely outplaying him.

  3. Jake - Sep 2, 2010 at 1:28 PM

    I have to agree. In the Blue vs White and some of the friendly games he looked good. But in pool play he hasn’t really impressed. I think he’s going to be a GREAT player in the NBA in a few years but right now you’re right, Gordan & Westbrook are playing better ball.
    I’m surprised they don’t play Westbrook with Durant more, you would think they have chemistry from being teamates and all.

  4. guy - Sep 2, 2010 at 3:02 PM

    Gordon and Westbrook are more selfish, they don’t pass the ball once they got it, therfore they have less chances to turn over the ball and made points.And they were set up to shoot the ball not like Curry, no on set up for him, he only made the shot when it was necessary. Why not give him credit for his assists?

  5. Brandan - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:27 PM

    Definitely! the gameplay is concerning, the got past Brazil not because HAS won but because Brazil failed to score in the right moment, which is a bad thing cause makes you think that the victory was luck. Indeed they need to play more the Durant – Wesgbrook combo, is when WBrookl become unselfish. I think Curry haven’t been as good as he was supposed to be and the lack of a Plan B is highly concerning. I also noticed that Team USA its been weak against their own game based in athletic style, good defense and high tempo. They can scissors hill in transition and fast break, but they can’t defend as good as they score in those situations.

  6. ElGatoGrande - Sep 2, 2010 at 5:36 PM

    three games from a gold medal and it could be Spain followed by other top teams like Argentina and Turkey.——and these teams impressed you?

  7. YoMaMa - Sep 3, 2010 at 1:26 AM

    Those of you that bitch about the lacklusting performance of Team USA are the ones who show up at work everyday and give 110%, right?
    I never heard of rebounding is about desire. I read an article on Charles Barkeley and he said that rebounding is about positioning. Pound for pound, Sir Charles is one of the best 6’6″ rebounder in NBA history. So you think you know better than him?
    Did your girlfirend dump you and took all your money? Is that why you are so bitter that you can’t just enjoy the game.

  8. Mike - Sep 3, 2010 at 7:08 AM

    Win by 35 and the media says its unimpressive. If you win by 50 then you are being an ugly American and questions are asked why did Team USA run up the score. There is no way that USA Basketball, which is a group of NBA players can win over the media. US media cheers for and hope that the foreign team beats the USA. Forget about pride of country, USA media will never back an American professional basketball team.

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