WARNING: If you’re a USA Basketball fan with high blood pressure and/or an anxiety disorder, stop reading here. We won by 47.
Sure, the spread was 55, but we’ve got nothing to worry about.
OK…now, anyone who had Tunisia leading the United States nine minutes into Tuesday’s contest, please stand up.
No one? Bueller? Bueller?
Nobody saw this coming because Tunisia isn’t, well, good. The small northern African nation is a newcomer on the Olympic basketball scene and isn’t expected to beat anyone, let alone the mighty US of A.
Which, to be fair, didn’t happen. They lost by almost 50 points. But they did make the best players in the world look pretty silly for a few minutes and even kept the game fairly close until halftime. The U.S. came out flatter than a three-year-old Coke in the opening minutes. They settled for long jumpers on offense, couldn’t be bothered to play defense and only woke up once Coach K pulled his starters in favor of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and the rest of the high-energy bench.
The good news is that the Americans proved they could shake off a rough start and play like everyone expects them to every game. The second half was less a basketball game and more a test of just how high Anthony Davis could jump to finish an alley-oop. Despite the best efforts of sharpshooters Makram Ben Rohmdhane and Marouan Kechrid, the Americans outscored the Tunisians 64-30 after the break. The fact that they could do that without James, who sat for much of the third and fourth quarters, was comforting.
Still, the degree to which Team USA struggled in the early going is worrisome to say the least. We can’t pull this type of stunt against Spain or Argentina, or it’ll be another disappointing year wearing bronze.