USA made it five wins from five, by no means convincing though. As they beat winless Tunisia, 92-57.
In a game where the standings would not be affected, the intensity was still there, as both teams fought hard. Amine Rzig scoring Tunisia’s first five points. Durant answering back, as America led 6-5 to start.
The Tunisians could not stop Durant, as he scored nine out of America’s first 11 points. A basket from Derrick Rose gave the States a 13-8 lead.
Durant, who ended with nine points at the end of one, finished with 14 – Eric Gordon, led all scorers with 21 points for the winners.
Kechrid, who scored six in the first ten minutes, narrowed the gap towards the end of the opening ten, but America were in control at 19-13.
The writing looked to be on the wall, as back-to-back buckets from Stephen Curry extended the American lead to double-digits (28-18).
Tunisia though, did not read the script in the second quarter, and came back into the game off Kechrid, punished the Americans poor perimeter defence, and a breakaway dunk from Romdhame closed the gap to just two points (28-30).
Eric Gordon stepped up towards the end to spare the blushes at half-time with five points in 40 seconds, to give America a 39-33 half-time lead.
Following a 7-0 run from Tunisia to start the third, the States pulled away at long last, as buckets from Rose, Russell Westbrook and Gordon gave America a 53-39 lead in the early stages.
Tunisia by this time, were getting sloppy, and could not expose America’s obvious lack of a big man. USA on the other hand, were connecting from long range, as Gordon and Curry hit consecutive triples. A lone tip-in from Romdhame was a minor detail for a sloppy third quarter of play. America up 63-46 going into the final ten minutes.
The NBA clad stars of America pulled away again, a dunk on the fast-break from Westbrook, a triple from Curry and a put-back from Kevin Love gave USA a 78-47 lead – and the game was out of Tunisia’ reach.
Seven straight points from Slimane with four minutes to play, was mere consolation.
The crowd towards the end acknowledged Tunisia’s efforts for this tournament; they might have lost all five games, but were by no means a soft touch.
“They (Tunisia) played very well in the first half.” Mike Krzyzewski said at the after game press conference
“Everybody should respect Tunisia but they need some support. This championship is a good step for them.”
John Hobbs for TalkBasket.net – in Istanbul