Flashback: USA Men Capitalize on Depth to Take Down Tunisia, 110-63
- Six U.S. Players Reach Double-Digits And All 12 Score, Including 16 Apiece From Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Love -
Eighty of the U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team’s 110 points came from its reserve players in a 110-63 rout of overmatched Tunisia in the 2012 London Olympics on July 31at the Olympic Park Basketball Arena in London, England, including 16 points apiece from Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves) and Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks), who was 6-of-6 from the field in 12 minutes played.
“My goal tonight was to try to get kind of an equal number of minutes for everybody in the game and to try some different combinations so there was really nothing meant by subbing five at a time except to get five new guys in and get a certain amount of minutes for each of them, and like in Andre’s case, he hadn’t gotten as many minutes,” said USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University). “Kevin Love is continuing to improve so we wanted to make sure he got his minutes. Anthony Davis. James Harden. Those guys got extended minutes. And it’s better to have extended minutes sometimes if you go in with a new unit, and so that was the only significance of any unit substitutions that I did.”
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder) finished with 13 points and 10 rebounds; Anthony Davis (New Orleans Hornets) was 5-of-5 from the field – all five were alley-oops – and sank two free throws for 12 points; Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder) added 11 points; and James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder) finished with 10 points. Chris Paul (Los Angeles Clipper) dished out a game-high seven assists.
“We’re 12 deep,” Anthony said. “You put anybody out there on the court with us, we know how to play with each other, we have each other’s back. The biggest point is that we have fun with one another.”
While the USA was 0-7 from 3-point in the first quarter, Tunisia sank three 3-pointers in the first 5:05 and took an 11-10 lead with a long ball at 4:55. After a score from each team, Krzyzewski changed his entire side at 2:39, and the fresh five of Anthony, Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers), Love, Westbrook and Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets) went to work. Holding Tunisia scoreless over the remainder of the quarter, they tallied nine points to put the USA up 21-15 at the first break.
“We have so many guys who can come in and there’s no drop-off when you go to your bench,” Durant said. “Coach made a good decision and it worked. We’re just trying to do our best to support the second group. They did a great job for us.”
Anthony opened the second period with the USA’s first made 3-pointer to help extend the run, which totaled 14-0, and the USA led 26-15 when Westbrook pulled up at 9:15. Tunisia scored out of a timeout to end the streak, and then Marouan Hadidane sank three 3-pointers over the next four minutes to pull his side within five points, 35-30, at 3:33. The Americans once again responded with a scoring spree, tallying 11 unanswered points from four scorers. Tunisia sank one more three before halftime, and the U.S. headed to the locker room with a 46-33 advantage.
The USA was a red-hot 77.3% (17-22 2pt FGs) inside the arc in the first half, but struggled from behind the 3-point line, shooting just 16.7% (2-12 3pt FGs). Conversely, Tunisia was 27.8% from 2-point (2-12) and a much better 43.8% (7-16 3pt FGs) from deep in the first half. While the USA improved to finish 61.4% (43-70) from the field overall, Tunisia did not and was held to 35.4% (23-65 FGs) shooting.
“We were bailing them out a little with a lot of deep shots, a lot of quick shots,” Williams said. We had 10 assists at half, which is not our game. We have to move the ball a little bit better. We did that, in the end we had 27 assists. We had 17 in the second half, which is around the number we want to be.”
The U.S. reserves stared the second half for the USA and compiled yet another scoring run, as the USA raced away with control of the game. All five scored during a 14-2 stretch that put the USA up 60-34 with a give-and-go between Anthony and Iguodala at 6:53. As the U.S. lineup changed throughout the third quarter, the highlight reel continued. Davis scored on an alley-oop from Paul at 2:30 to put all 12 players on the board for the Americans, and Davis went on to two more crowd-pleasing oops, including the period’s final score at 3.6 seconds to bring the score to 85-47.
It rained threes for the USA in the final quarter, and Love closed with three 3-pointers in the final 3:15. The USA outscored Tunisia 25-16 in the stanza to compile its largest lead, 47 points, and bring the game to its 110-63 final.
Finishing with just nine turnovers, the USA caused Tunisia to cough up the ball 19 times, which converted into 36 points to go along with 38 fast-break scores. The USA also outrebounded Tunisia 44-31.
“We have a really good bond with one another,” Iguodala said. “Everything is a team setting. There isn’t too much guys spreading out, so we’re trying to build chemistry and that team feeling and being together does that so those are the moments that we’re all going to cherish when we’re done playing basketball.”
Makram Ben Romdhane was the game’s high scorer with 22 points and 11 rebounds.