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London Olympics: U.S. beats Tunisia after starters benched

July 31, 2012|By Mike Bresnahan
  • U.S. guard Russell Westbrook is hit by Tunisia's Makram Ben Romdhane on a drive to the basket in their preliminary round game Tuesday.
U.S. guard Russell Westbrook is hit by Tunisia's Makram Ben Romdhane… (Eric Gay / Associated Press )

LONDON -- Coach Mike Krzyzewski had seen enough.

The U.S. was barely beating the Tunisia men's basketball team at halftime of a preliminary game at the London Olympics, so Krzyzewski kept his starters on the bench to start the third quarter.

That's right. Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Chris Paul and Tyson Chandler were benched.

It worked.

The U.S. walloped Tunisia, 110-63, with the Americans holding a 39-14 edge in scoring in the third quarter.

The reserves inherited a limp 46-33 lead and put the game out of hand with a 21-3 run to start the third quarter before Durant entered with 4:47 left in the quarter at the Olympic Park basketball arena.

It helps to have depth, even if you're the undeniable No. 1 team in the world.

Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love each had 16 points to lead the U.S. Anthony Davis added 12 points while Russell Westbrook had 11 points and James Harden 10.

Bryant did not play in the second half after scoring four points on two-for-five shooting. Tyson Chandler also didn't play after the first half.

Durant actually had the best stat line of the day: 13 points, 10 rebounds and five assists. Paul led the U.S. with seven assists.

Tunisia had one player taller than 6 feet 9 and was playing only its second Olympic basketball game. Oddsmaker Bovada had installed the U.S. as a 54-point favorite.

But Tunisia actually led, 15-12, on a run that included a coast-to-coast dunk by Makram Ben Romdhane.

Krzyzewski was irritated by the poor defense from his starters and subbed them all out with 2:39 left in the first quarter.

The reserves did well at that point too, going on a 14-0 run.

Kevin Love left the game after banging knees with a Tunisian player but walked off under his own power and was expected to be fine for Thursday's game against Nigeria.

ALSO:

U.S. women win team gold medal in gymnastics

Michael Phelps sets record with 19 Olympic medals

U.S. women win their soccer group by defeating North Korea, 1-0

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