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USA handily beats Tunisia but doesn’t earn many style points

Jul 31, 2012, 7:20 PM EST

Andre Iguodala, Mohamed Hadidane AP

Every time the 2012 Team USA steps on the court they face two opponents. First, it’s the team lined up in the other colored jerseys. Second, there is the USA Basketball legacy — the 1960 team of West and Robertson, the Dream Team and beyond — and how they measure up.

Team USA beat Tunisia 110-63 thanks to a monster 39 point third quarter Thursday at the London Olympics. The USA is now the only 2-0 in Group A play and controls their own destiny.

But in the style-points battle with legacy the Dream Team and history got the win. Not that this current team really cares much about it, but games like this give their doubters (in terms of this team’s legacy) fuel.

That’s because Team USA started out with some lethargic play and struggled in the first half to put away a vastly inferior Tunisian team. Tunisia opened the game up 8-4 and had a 13-12 lead more than seven minutes into contest. It happened in part because USA again was cold from the outside —they started 0-8 from three. And the USA’s defense was passive. This was a Tunisian team that scored 15 points in the entire first half against Nigeria and equaled that inside eight minutes against USA.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski had seen enough, subbed out all five starters at once (hockey style) late in the first to try and change defensive energy. It worked. The USA went on a 12-0 run. In fact it worked so well that Coach K started that unit for the second half.

Let’s give some credit to Tunisia — they are feisty and hung around. They actually got the lead down to five in the second quarter before USA went on 11-0 run. USA was up 46-33 at the half — it was the least impressive 13-point lead in the history of basketball.

Team USA’s second unit started the second half on a 23-3 run and the USA made a run at the 54-point spread that Las Vegas had on the game. Team USA shot 15-of-18 in the third quarter, they were 10-of-17 from three after the first quarter and blew the game wide open. That included Anthony Davis getting lob after lob for dunks from teammates.

The USA outscored Tunisia by 34 in the second half and the rout we all expected was on.

The only scary moment of the second half was when Kevin Love drove the lane and had some knee-on-knee contact with a Tunisian big man, which had Love limping to the sidelines. However, it was more of a just a bruise, he was moving fine a few minutes later and when Anthony Davis had a beautiful dunk he was leaping out of his seat cheering like he was just fine. He returned to the game in the fourth quarter.

Tunisia was led by Macram Ben Romdhane who had 22 points, 11 rebounds and 4 assists.

The USA had six guys in double figures with Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love leading the way with 16 points. Anthony Davis had 12 points on a perfect 5-for-5 shooting night.

It ended up being a laugher and the USA got the win they expected. It may not have lived up to the impossible standards of how we view the Dream Team through rose-colored glasses, but that doesn’t really matter in the end. This team will let the old guys have the win on style points and they will take this one, which moves them one step closer to their goal of a gold medal.

Next up for the USA is a slightly tougher test against Nigeria on Thursday. But only slightly.

  1. kingbeason52 - Jul 31, 2012 at 7:27 PM

    Anthony Davis looked good..

  2. mrlaloosh - Jul 31, 2012 at 7:32 PM

    Chris Paul shoulda stayed in NOLA. The UNIBROW will dominate!

    • terrellblowens - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:00 PM

      You realize if CP3 stayed in NO, they probably wouldn’t have gotten a lottery pick right? So there would be no Davis

  3. shaab23 - Jul 31, 2012 at 8:09 PM

    Had cp3 stayed in nola , they’d ended up with terrance Ross or something.

  4. 24thesho - Jul 31, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    What’s up with those cross court passes, anyway? Mediocre half court play, as well. If they continue to keep playing this way against the better teams, eventually, they will get embarrassed and definitely will not win the Gold, and btw, Chris Paul has been a little “jerky” lately (as in, acting like one) with his bad Charles Barkley impersonation. This squad is a bit sketchy, even with the wins. Remember, France upset Argentina today. Anthony Davis looks good, though.

  5. pudgalvin - Jul 31, 2012 at 9:13 PM

    I think it says a little bit about the type of players on each team. 92 didn’t care if they were playing a group of 80 year old women; the goal was to demolish. This team has guys that are more concerned about which club they’re going to after the game.

    • jblah - Jul 31, 2012 at 9:48 PM

      there is a difference. just look at the # of NBA players that are now playing in the olympics around the world? the world has caught up. I would put this team up against the dream team. just because the older dream team blew out their opponents, that does not mean that they would do as well in this day and age. game has changed, players around the world have gotten better, and more and more of them are playing in the NBA. its a whole new world.

  6. ebrownwareagle - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:01 PM

    47 point win is a 47 point win. Equivalent to Blow Out! Damn a style point(s).

  7. thestudiokida - Jul 31, 2012 at 10:33 PM

    Actually they DID earn a lot of style points. Do you see the chemistry between LeBron and Durant? Insane… and this is the only time we’ll ever see it. Anthony Davis scored all sorts of style points as well.

    PS Main reason they were down early: Kobe Bean Bryant. How could anybody compare this clown to Jordan? He just dribbles out the clock and takes a terrible shot.

  8. 1972wasalongtimeago - Jul 31, 2012 at 11:47 PM

    What would it have proved to win by 70? I’m telling you, any USA Hoops fan now knows what it’s like to be a Heat fan. Win big, and with class; and the headlines on this site are mostly negative, and the comments are all negative. And whatever they do, it won’t be as good as (fill in past great team/player/game).

    Can’t we just enjoy this team. There’s some great, all-time talent assembled here. It’s a team we can all be proud of.

    • 1972wasalongtimeago - Aug 1, 2012 at 7:57 AM

      Just look at Pudgalvin’s ridiculous post above…
      and wayne1693s

      • jimeejohnson - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:31 PM

        Smog in Smell-A is ridiculous. Those posts were not.

  9. wayne1693 - Aug 1, 2012 at 12:11 AM

    YAWN…

  10. redstar504 - Aug 1, 2012 at 1:10 AM

    Like someone pointed out earlier if the hornets still have CP3 they don’t end up with a lotto pick and they don’t get Anthony Davis.

    I love CP3 he is the best point guard on earth but the more I see of Davis the happier I am with the team the Hornets have today. Even keeping CP3 the best the Hornets could have had was CP3, David West (probably wouldn’t have stayed anyway), and Emaka that team can get u in the playoffs but little else.

    I am really liking a Hornets team with Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, and Rivers at the point that is a team that can get you to the playoffs and make some noise there in a few years.

    So in conclusion thank you David Stern and thank you CP3 wish you well in LA you’ll always be one of my favorite players.

  11. drobstad - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:48 AM

    ’92 Dream team looked so great in the Olympics because they got their butts kicked by a college all-star team. They got embarrassed before the Olympics started and that lit their fire. Second time they played that college team they demolished them along with every other team they faced from there on out.

  12. infectorman - Aug 1, 2012 at 10:53 AM

    WOW! Tunisia!!!!
    No WAY the 92′ team could’ve pulled this Off. No way.

    The International Competition is just LIGHT YEARS ahead of where it was in 1992. Just ask anyone on here who is under the age of 25, they’ll tell you all about it.
    Tunisia…

  13. mannyicey - Aug 1, 2012 at 11:03 AM

    I’ll say this: The 1992 Dream Team is still the very best team ever put together in any sport, period.

    Now that we’ve gotten that out of the way, the level of play around the world is so much better. Plus, I found myself liking Tunisia’s Point Guard and that Ben Ramadan (or however he spells it.) I mean, they looked like they were auditioning for a roster spot in the NBA, didn’t they?

    But this team really has no competition. Yeah, Spain and Argentina looks good, but the worse player on the USA team is Anthony Davis- who looks like a basketball freak of nature. Yes, the competition is improving, but they are a long way from catching up.

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