Notes from USA 92, TUN 57

ISTANBUL – The U.S. National Team wrapped up pool play with an easy 92-57 win over Tunisia that meant nothing as far as the Group B standings or round-of-16 seeding was concerned.

I’ll have an overview of pool play across all four groups and a lookahead to the round of 16 later on today. For now, here are a few notes on today’s first game at the Abdi Ipekci Arena.

***

This was not this team’s best day. In fact, the first half, which the U.S. won by just six points, was embarrassing.

Of course, it wasn’t as bad as the scoreboard told it, because the pace of that first half was so unbearably slow. Each team had just 33 possessions in the first half. Part of that was due to the number of offensive rebounds each team had (15 total if you count team offensive boards), but it was still an ugly half no matter how you slice it.

***

Speaking of offensive boards, that was the U.S. Team’s biggest problem this afternoon. Tunisia grabbed 20 of its own misses. Add five more defensive boards that the U.S. was unable to secure (counted as team offensive rebounds for Tunisia) and you have 25 second opportunities for the underdog.

Defensive rebounding hasn’t been a big issue for the U.S. through its first four games (Brazil had zero second-chance points in Monday’s thriller), but Tunisia was arguably the its first opponent that really went after offensive boards.

***

Rudy Gay suffered a slightly strained groin (right side) in the first half, slipping one of the decals in the middle of the floor and did not play in the second half.

Gay talked of the injury like it was minor and said that he’ll be fine by Monday, when the U.S. will play Angola in the round of 16.

“It’s nothing too much,” Gay said. “I’ve been through stuff like this before and I know how to get better.”

***

Eric Gordon was the leading scorer with 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting (4-for-7 from 3-point range). He also was aggressive defending the ball, picking up three steals.

***

I know it’s hard to be critical of Kevin Love with the per-minute production he’s had, but he’s too quick to shoot threes when he’s on the floor. Mike Krzyzewski has given him the green light to shoot from out there, but that doesn’t mean he should be taking every one the defense gives him, especially when it’s early in the shot clock.

Of course, he took just one three on Thursday and was 3-for-7 from 3-point range in pool play, so maybe I don’t know what I’m talking about.

***

As a team, the U.S. shot 1-for-10 from 3-point range in the first half and 9-for-16 in the second half.

One of the things the U.S. team needs right now is some practice time. By the time they finally hit the practice floor on Saturday (after a day off Friday), it will have been more than a week since they practiced.

But Krzyzewski took advantage of some extra pre-game time (which comes with playing the first game of the day), and had some personal instruction for Love and Tyson Chandler on the floor about an hour before game time.

***

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John Schuhmann is a staff writer for NBA.com. Send him an e-mail or follow him on twitter.

37 Comments

  1. Chicagowind says:

    Defense, Defense, Defense…I haven’t been able to watch most of the games so far but I have caught a couple minutes here and there and the difference that USA has on their side is defense. If US just plays good D and moves the ball on offense they should have a good showing. They have to stop just trying to beat everyone off the dribble that’s not how you win in international play. Rose do you, penetrate and kick or if they giving it to u slam it down or reverse that layup like in that game the other day, Billups is gonna lead and my man Tyson is gonna contest everything (wish you were still a bull) and just have heart…it’ll get this team far…not sure if they gonna win it but hey i like the youth…i like that its not a dream team or redeem team…its young usa and maybe even that will be enough to take it all…it’s been too long without a fiba championship and that’s unexceptable…bring it home boys!!!!!

  2. kljlijsdfr says:

    visi amerikieciai lopai :) visiski suskiai,.GO america! nevykeliai net nezino ka as rasau :) american team is best! juokauju ;D

  3. Kestas says:

    people, people, stop that “what if” nonsense.. not only that can not be tested and thus can not be proven or disproven, but having superstars only is often risky. It used not to be this way, when other teams were much weaker (like in 1992) and US could play individually without any system whatsoever facing practically no defense and still remain unbeaten. But now it’s different. Yeah, US won everything with their best two years ago, but, say, we, Liths, had a much better team on paper last year in the Europeans, yet only beat Bulgaria (in five games). Now we lack Siskauskas, Jasikevicius, Songaila, Kaukenas, Petravicius, Lavrinovic twins (not to mention Ilgas) yet we are playing incomparably better on both ends of the floor. In 2001 Eurobasket (in Turkey, btw ;)), after the marvelous Olympics, we boosted our bronze winning team with the star power of Sabonis, added Javtokas, Kaukenas and M. Zukauskas (all better players than the ones they replaced) just to finish 12 out of 16. Sure, we’re not US, but imho with team sports the sum of all individual units does NOT equal end result. Very often units that may seem worse on paper fuse flawlessly to produce a better result. This has been shown in club basketball, especially in European competitions (see Partizan in Euroleague this year, of Zalgiris in 1999, etc.), where individual play is not so important. I personally agree that US would be better with that A team, but even that is a specullation.

  4. G says:

    Love is a great player, im surprised people cant appreciate him and his last games enough.
    He is the only guy playing center (successfullly) right now and he does a great job in both sides under the basket and drawing tall guys to the perimeter by shooting threes…
    He seems to be a very clever player and very efficient too.
    He understands the team’s tactics and adds a flavor that other players dont have, run ‘n’ gun is just fine, but US will meet teams that will counter that; running 5 on 5 systems and exploiting every advantage on every possesion will matter…
    It seems his value is not recognised when playing NBA rules, but probably the US got lucky that he plays more minutes now…. i can only see positive contribution by this guy.

  5. Jay says:

    to “international player rule”, that’ll be a major playing time issue for the coach

  6. JOHN says:

    I love the responses as a read them and shake my head i say these people know nothing about the game of basketball. The olympic gold medalist lost in the worlds and won gold so why do we need our best again they lost. How many of you will come back on here if the usa wins gold and admit you were wrong. Oh yeah kobe and the boys have about 5 years on our boys so cut them some slack.

  7. jay85 says:

    some of u guys r really trippin this team may not be as good as the 2008 team but nno other team stands a chance against the US seriously……and KD is a superstar and drose no one can stop him.

  8. Dongz23 says:

    This is a very good opportunity for these young players to proved that their childish is already over and they are already man in the league. Take note, if the USA will win this tournament, it will bring a shame to the stars like lebron james, wade and all the stars you are wanting to play because the best team happened last world championship but they were defeated by Greece and wasnt able to reach the finals. If these kids can win it, why cant the stars? lol. . .get it?

  9. Logan says:

    I think that seeing the future of usa basketball is exciting we dont get to see to many of these guys like durant, granger(my fav player), gordon, ect. to often

  10. jessie says:

    Team USA will win gold Durant and Billups will carry this team Billups with leadership and Durant with talent.

  11. periong says:

    Olympic 2008 Team US was a chosen group of battle-tested NBA superstars, to insure the Olympic Gold. World 2010 Team US is also a aelected team of young and rising NBA stars, an investment for the future to give the much-needed
    international exposure and to find how it will fare against the veterans and seasoned playerrs of other countries,especially fthose coming from South America and Europe. Without doubt, the US is the world’s basketball super-power, their action to send a brand-new team showed its concerns for the future and the youth. It further showed that it’s has a deep resources of basketball talents. Good luck to World Tean USA (Durant & Rose Co.)

  12. charles says:

    formerb1pg, no offense, but where would the outside shooting come from when the opposition, packs it in the middle?

  13. DNamp says:

    Its great to see that USA is doing really well with young players who plays with their heart and defense and as a clipper fan im really happy to see that Eric Gordon is playing great consistent basketball, makes me excited about this upcoming year because he is really developing as a great and humble player.

  14. PASHKA916CALi says:

    Russia will win gold. U.S. has average players no superstars.

    • bpmcg says:

      “No super star”????? Kevin Durant Is a super star and the scoring champ……..and will be the number one plare within a year or two.

  15. Istanbul says:

    !!!Turkey goes to the final!!!!

  16. MHarris says:

    i think next the next Olympic team will add Durant Iguodala and maybe Rose, possibly more.
    but i like what USA is trying to do right now,
    win it with new players< :/ kinda without a center too.

  17. good game says:

    The real games will be1/4 1/2 and final, this is warm up for now, when you face Argentina, Serbia, Greece, Spain and others in elimination games, then we will see full picture of this US team. USA has the best 1on1 players for sure, and almost all of them are unstoppable, but basketball is team sport and in FIBA rules there isnt illegal defense so help side of defense is much more involved, even if its not zone defense, so good teams with good coaches will make trouble for USA.

    It will be 1 more easy game for US, against Angola I think and after that it will be real deal. USA are favorites, but without their best players they are far far from unbetable.

    My prediction USA-Serbia final and Serbia win :P

  18. tata says:

    I’m surprised we didn’t just send the Miami HEAT to play. I’m glad we didn’t though.

  19. LMOC says:

    I’m a female basketball fan and I totally agree with Robert Zenon and enrichi!

  20. tas says:

    let’s blame the knicks for not letting amar’e play at the world champhionships…I think thats even worse, when a team prohibts his players to play for the national team than when it’s a players decision.

    • Brydon says:

      I’m pretty sure that decision was made by Amare more so than the Knicks.

    • marc gonzalez says:

      Im with you on that. with amare it woulda been over plus it mite have helped him get used to NOT playing with nash

    • ness says:

      The Knicks couldn’t get insurance on his contract for FIBA because of his past injuries… You think they would want to waste all that money on him sitting on the bench all season? Especially if they couldn’t recover the loss to replace him? It was a smart move on the part of the Knicks protecting their investment.

  21. unknown says:

    NOOOOOO Puerto Rico eliminated, again.I feel so sad we are always the best third or fourth team in our group and we always get eliminated in the last game by a tie.Now that P.R. has no more talent.We have like 10 players from 90s.I feel like this the last fiba world cup.We never gonna go from the first round.I wish all the luck china and you gonna need it facing France, lituana or maybe spain.depending.Waaaooo what a easy win.Maybe puerto rico would been more of challange.And I wish good luck to Usa too facing grece or spain in the second round will be very hard.

  22. NBA says:

    I agree with what “NBA” said

  23. erichci says:

    I like the fact that other players get to play in the FIBA World Championships…I am a basketball fan who love the fact that I can see hw Durant, DRose, Grainger and other players match u with the other hoopers in the world. Hard to not root for these guys and want to see them win because they are not the so called, “BIG NAMES”…Much Success in the FIBA playoffs USA!!!

    • marc gonzalez says:

      i agree with you 100 pct. as a basketball fanatic its great to see rudy gay, eric gordon, westbrook, curry ect… hopefully their ALL able to take this experience and help their NBA teams be more successful. im not too crazy bout watching chauncey Billups and tyson chandler since ive watched them play so many times. but if it wasnt for chauncey team usa would hardly get to the free throw line. and chandler seems like the only guy that understands the fiba rule on knocking the ball off the rim. I still wish Amare and David Lee were able to play.

  24. janus says:

    I agree what “NBA” said

  25. NBA says:

    if US really wants to win the FIBA.. they should send their best players.. unlike this time.. we dont even have a stare on lebron , kobe, wade, carmelo, howard… if they are patriotic, y not play to defend their country? if US fail to grab the gold medal this FIBA 2010.. US will probably having a further drought again for gold! whats more precious to the USA team? the OLYMPIC GOLD MEDAL or the FIBA WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP MEDAL?

    • Jake says:

      Olympic Gold medal.

    • marc gonzalez says:

      i think that if for sum crazy reason US doesnt get the Gold, theyll send their (A-team) to the next world championship. i missed the game this morning cause of a fun wednesday night, hope they show it again

    • formerD1pg says:

      Imagine a starting 5 of…..

      Deron Williams
      Kobe Bryant
      LeBron James
      Kevin Durant
      Dwight Howard

      And a Bench of…..

      CP3
      DWade
      Melo
      Bosh
      Amare

      And the last two roster spots?

      Rose
      Brandon Roy

      ARE PROPLE SERIOUSLY THINKING THAT ANY COUNTRY CAN COMPETE WITH OUR BEST TEAM?

      • good game says:

        For sure not, but this team is far far from that list, so everything is possible at this tournament.

      • International player rule says:

        What about this roster? Can the US get the rebounds at all?
        Starters
        Parker
        Ginobili
        Dirk 7’0″
        Gasol 7’1″
        Bogut 6’11″

        Bench players
        Nash
        Barbosa
        Rudy Fer.
        Scola 6’9″
        Nene 6’11″
        Varejo 6’11″
        Okur 6’11″

        Can Howard cover Dirk, Gasol, Bogut, Nene, Verejo, Okur and Scola?

  26. robert zenon says:

    I watched the game and let’s face it, they just did not come out with the same defensive intensity that they did in the first three. It really showed today, as they weren’t showing any energy at all in the first half. Kevin Love taking a 3 in one possession isn’t a big deal. He knows his roll on the team and he plays it. The worst they played so far and they won by what, “35″, come one this was just one of those games they played and are glad to be done with. No big deal you sound like the announcers, who probably would not be able to coach this team with his attitude, he sounds like chicken little at every mistake they make. They weren’t sharp and that is that, next game. For a half they played down to their competition. Isn’t the first time a team has done that, heck the Dream Team played games like that. Of course they eventually blew everyone out and that is what people had come to expect, but face it this was a game where the Coach was able to motivate them or they did it themselves and just came out and played better, geez, lighten up on the critique. They won by 35.