Tunisia guard Marouan Kechrid tries to steal the ball from U.S. guard Kobe… (Charles Krupa / Associated…)
LONDON -- How does the U.S. spell weak defensive effort?
Apparently, it's T-U-N-I-S-I-A.
The men's basketball team came out slowly, if not embarrassingly, and gained a surprisingly limp 46-33 halftime lead Tuesday against Tunisia in an Olympic preliminary-round game.
Worth mentioning: Oddsmaker Bovada had the U.S. as a 54-point favorite.
Also worth mentioning: Tunisia actually led, 15-12, on a run that included a coast-to-coast dunk by Makram Ben Romdhane at the Olympic Park basketball arena.
U.S. Coach Mike Krzyzewski had seen enough of the poor defense from his starters so he subbed them all out with 2:39 left in the quarter.
The U.S went on a 14-0 run with reserves Russell Westbrook, Deron Williams, Andre Iguodala, Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Love.
But Tunisia stuck around and trailed, 35-30 with 3:23 left in second quarter.
Kevin Durant had nine points in the first half. Anthony had seven and Westbrook had six.
Ben Romdhane had 11 for Tunisia.
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