U.S. men's basketball: A lot in reserve

  • Article by: BRIAN MAHONEY , Associated Press
  • Updated: August 1, 2012 - 7:25 AM

When the Americans' starting five struggled to pull away from plucky Tunisia, the second five supplied plenty of firepower.

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USA's Kobe Bryant shoots over Tunisia's Makram Ben Romdhane.

Photo: Charles Krupa, Associated Press

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LONDON - Halftime ended. Showtime began.

The U.S. men's Olympic basketball team needed a while but eventually put on the show fans came to see, beating Tunisia 110-63 on Tuesday night.

Finally pulling away when coach Mike Krzyzewski started the reserves to open the second half, the Americans had six players in double figures and improved to 2-0 in the tournament.

Krzyzewski insists he planned to start the second unit even before a lackluster first half, and said he thought there was nothing bad about the Americans' performance.

"It's not going to a perfect thing, you know?" he said. "But overall tonight was good. I mean, come on, it was 110-63."

True, it was a 47-point blowout, but the lead was only 13 at the half and Krzyzewski sure didn't look pleased as he walked quickly to the locker room. But if he didn't see anything wrong, the players sure did -- though they weren't concerned.

"We told him, don't get worried," Carmelo Anthony said. "We're all right."

They sure were.

Anthony, Deron Williams, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Love and Andre Iguodala opened the third quarter with a 21-3 run, turning a surprisingly close 13-point lead into a 67-36 bulge before any of the more celebrated starters finally got to play in the second half.

"That was a great lift, man. That's the best thing about this team, there's no dropoff," Kevin Durant said. "We've got All-Stars off the bench. Those guys did great job for us."

Anthony and Love scored 16 points apiece for the Americans, who gave the fans the dunk show they expected once the game was in hand. Durant had 13 and rookie Anthony Davis dunked his way to 12.

The Americans found themselves in a five-point game late in the first half, launching three-pointers when they couldn't be stopped inside.

The second unit simply appeared to compete much harder, with Williams even playing one defensive possession with one shoe after the other fell off. Love briefly had to come out after banging knees, but was able to return later.

"It's a different game to get ready for and I thought as a team overall we were ready, but it took our bench to get us going defensively," Krzyzewski said.

Makram Ben Romdhane scored 22 for Tunisia, the African champion playing in only its second Olympic game.

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