USA vs. Tunisia: Highlighting Dream Team's Main Strengths and Exposed Weaknesses
Team USA blew out Tunisia in Tuesday’s Group A matchup, 110-63, but not everything was great about the win.
Sure, Team USA had plenty of highlight plays and is still undefeated through two games in London, which is good, but there is still plenty to improve on before they reach the medal games.
If you watched the USA-Tunisia duel, you probably know what I’m talking about. If you didn’t, here’s a look at some of Team USA’s main strengths and exposed weaknesses.
Strength: Shooting the Lights out
Easily Team USA’s biggest strength is their scoring ability. They scored 21 points in the first quarter, 25 in the second, 39 in the third and 25 in fourth to blow out Tunisia.
Team USA was incredibly accurate from the field, shooting 73 percent compared to Tunisia’s 36 percent. They only shot 40 percent from three-point range on 25 attempts, but still made 10 of them. They also were pretty good from the free-throw line, shooting 78 percent and only missing four attempts.
If Team USA can put together some of the scoring runs together that they did against Tunisia, they’ll easily be able to put away any opponent that they face in London.
Weakness: Not Taking Advantage Early
Tunisia wasn’t expected to be able to hang with Team USA throughout the game, and even though the final score is separated by a huge margin, they did stick with them throughout the first half.
Tunisia does not have a good basketball team, so how were they only down six points after the first quarter to a team with several future Hall of Famers? Team USA only outscored Tunisia by seven points in the second half as well, leading at half time by just 13 points.
There’s no reason why Team USA couldn’t have had a massive lead at the half, but they can’t allow other teams to stick with them so early. They need come out strong and completely overpower their opponents early in games because if that huge run doesn’t come, they could be in trouble.
Strength: Sharing the Wealth
There are so many great players on Team USA’s roster that everyone has the capability of putting up huge numbers. Against Tunisia, six players finished in double figures with Kevin Love and Carmelo Anthony tying for a team-high 16 points.
Part of the reason Team USA spreads the wealth so well is their ability to pass so precisely. They had 28 assists during the rout, compared to Tunisia’s 12. Chris Paul led the team with seven, but five others had at least three.
Team USA’s depth is a major advantage while in London. Not every team has 12 players who can each take a game into his own hands should a teammate go into a slump.
Weakness: Foul Trouble
If a team is greatly overmatched and cannot even come close to producing the same talent nor scoring ability, why continue to foul them?
Team USA committed 19 fouls against Tunisia. Why? Why does Chris Paul have four fouls? Why does Kobe Bryant have three? Why put a team so behind that they ask for autographs after the game on the free throw line?
It just doesn’t make any sense. If players continue to get into foul trouble, Team USA could run into trouble if the game plays out more evenly. If it weren’t for Team USA’s massive run, this game could’ve been a lot closer.
Strength: Controlling the Boards
Can any other team in London bring the size that Team USA has? Not only that, but can they rebound the way the big men on Team USA do?
Team USA had 44 rebounds in their victory over Tunisia, nine offensive and 35 defensive. They absolutely controlled the boards during the game and even had more defensive rebounds than Tunisia had total rebounds. Even though the margin wasn’t that big, I still think it’s impressive to grab 44 rebounds in a 40-minute game.
Size can bring Team USA all the way to the gold medal game, but they are going to have to rebound too. That clearly wasn’t an issue in the Tunisia game, but will it be going forward? I think it’s very likely their success on the boards continues.