If it is possible for the victor in a 47-point blowout to be underwhelming, Team USA managed such a feat. Going up against arguably the weakest squad in the Olympic field, the Americans found themselves in a tussle with the feisty underdog for much longer than most anticipated. Tunisia, thanks a hot stretch by Marouan Kechrid, had the game within five points with just under four minutes to go in the second quarter.
From that point on, however, inspired and balanced production from the American bench helped them outscore Tunisia 75-33 the rest of the way. Leading the charge for the reserves were Kevin Love (16 pts, 6 rebs, 3-5 3-pt FG), Carmelo Anthony (16 pts, 6-6 FG) and Andre Iguodala (6 pts, 5 rebs, 5 asts). Love, despite a minor knee injury, continued his solid offensive play so far this Olympics.
While it was unfortunate the bench was needed to put an overmatched Tunisian team away, it was still reassuring to see the backups provide a spark when called upon. Outside of that, there just simply wasn't much good to find in this game for the U.S. It's hard to laud team or individual accomplishments in a game containing a cavernous gap in talent between the two sides. Team USA should have won in a route, it did, and now it's on to the next game.
A poor first quarter was never going to put the U.S. in any serious trouble against a team like Tunisia. With no sense of urgency, the team played down to the level of its competition and simply gave this contest a little more life than originally expected. While this particular opening wasn't a concern, the worrisome part is that it continues a trend of lethargic starts for Team USA.
Needless to say, this ugly habit could put them in a bad spot when they are challenged by the much more talented opponents that lie ahead in the medal rounds.
Next up for the team is Nigeria on Thursday night (5:15 ET). After squeaking out a win against Tunisia, Nigeria was hammered by a tough Lithuanian team, 72-53. Nigeria has some athletes, but lacks much skill or shooting. This Nigerian team has trouble putting the ball in the hoop and the remedy for that is facing the best (and most athletic) defensive squad in the Olympics. Expect yet another one-sided affair.