The United States beat Tunisia on Thursday to end group play at the 2010 FIBA World Championships. To call it an exciting win for Team USA would be a gross overstatement about what happened in this game. Team USA had already clinched the No. 1 seed for Group B, and they were taking on a country that was not only playing at their first ever FIBA World Championships, but hadn’t won a single game. Maybe many of the players didn’t think that they needed it, but the energy level for the game just wasn’t there. In fact, Team USA led the worst team in the tournament by just six points at halftime.
In the second half, the United States put away Tunisia, crushing them with their depth, winning the game 92-57 when the final buzzer went off. The final score made thing appear quite different than what actually took place, as the reserves outscored Tunisia 29-11 in that fourth quarter. Again, it seemed like Team USA was playing down to their competition in the first half, and Tunisia won just about every “hustle” play that could be had in the early going. In the end, it probably won’t matter in the whole scheme of things, but the United States didn’t look that good Thursday.
The leader of the game against Tunisia was Eric Gordon, who scored 21 points off the bench through seven of 10 shooting from the field. He also hit four three-pointers to go along with three steals. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook also chipped in 14 points, with another 13 points coming from Stephen Curry. Those were the only players in double figures on the U.S. side of things, and everyone saw at least 10 minutes of action in the final group game for Team USA. Coach K. split up the minutes to keep everyone rested, and now they will head into the elimination rounds.
The United States finishes 5-0 in group play at the 2010 FIBA World Championships, all while playing in a group that might be considered one of the weaker ones at the tournament. There were some performances over the last week that just aren’t going to get it done against the bigger basketball countries from around the world, so hopefully they can all get on the same page during the time off before their next game on Monday. The key will be for all of the players on the roster to really “want” this, and not just feel that the Gold Medals are already theirs.