Olympic Basketball 2012: Team USA vs. Tunisia Preview

The United States head into their game vs. Tunisia today 1-0 in pool play so far, having beaten France Sunday 98-71.

Tunisia lost its first game against Nigeria and now is looking like they may not win a game in these Olympics. Tunisia is playing in its first Olympics ever and fell behind 29-10 to Nigeria early in the game. They rallied back to down 49-47 with 5:14 left in the game but was not able to finish the comeback.

Team USA was not really challenged by France. France has some NBA players on its roster led by Tony Parker and Nicolas Batum but they were no match for the United States’ depth.

“We played a very good game against an outstanding team,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski told USA Basketball.com after the game. “France is so well-coached and in (Tony) Parker, they have as good of a guard as there is in the tournament. I thought we did a good job defensively. We share the ball. We assisted on 27 of our 31 buckets and we rebounded the ball very well. Overall, it was a good first step or us, beating an outstanding French team.”

Kevin Durant led the U.S. with 22 points in that game and made three 3-pointers as well. Durant looked good but his coaches and teammates are actually calling for him to shoot more on this team.

LeBron James played the role of facilitator against France scoring only nine points but dishing out eight assists.

Kevin Love played well for really the first time with this team. He played 14 minutes and scored 14 points to go with three boards. With this team’s lack of size possible being an issue down the road, Love stepping up will be of great benefit. Love should be able to play a lot again against Tunisia today.

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Russell Westbrook had nine points, four rebounds and three assists against France. James Harden scored five points in 14 minutes of action.

Westbrook hasn’t really found his rhythm yet on this team. The entire team though is a little hesitant playing how they usually do in the NBA and are being more passive. That doesn’t vibe with Westbrook and he needs to be more assertive to contribute more for this team.

Harden should see more time again today. He hasn’t really gotten it going from three yet in any game and we’ll see if he can find his shooting touch today.

Amine Rzig played the best game for Tunisia scoring 18 points in 24 minutes and making 4-of-5 threes.

Tunisia turned the ball over 19 times against Nigeria which is a high number that will only go up when they play the U.S. today. One of the great strengths of the U.S. is the pressure they can apply on opposing backcourts with Chris Paul, Deron Williams and Russell Westbrook.

Look forward to a lot of fast break opportunities for the United States today as they should easily cruise past Tunisia.

Tunisia is pretty reliant on shooting from the outside too and went 8-for-23 from three against Nigeria while only shooting five free throws. Don’t expect the Tunisians to get the same looks from three they did in their first game and we may see their number of made threes go down against the U.S.

The game will tip at 5:15 p.m. EST and will air on the NBC Sports Channel.

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Tags: 2012 Olympics France James Harden Kevin Durant Kevin Love LeBron James Mike Krzyzewski Nigeria Russell Westbrook Tunisia USA Basketball

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