Istanbul, Turkey With nothing to play for, the United States looked as if it didn’t want to play.
Outworked and outhustled, the Americans led winless Tunisia by only four points early in the third quarter before turning the game into a rout over the final 15 minutes of a 92-57 victory Thursday.
Eric Gordon scored 21 points for the U.S., which had already clinched first place in its group and was more interested in getting through this one healthy — which it didn’t do — than earning any style points.
“It happens,” center Lamar Odom said. “These teams are pumped up to play against us. You’re not going to always blow a team out in the first three or four minutes of a game.”
That’s often what’s expected of the powerful U.S., though.
“It’s kind of like the Tour de France, except you have to win every stage,” U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “You have to look good in every stage.”
The U.S. (5-0), seeded first in Group B, next plays Monday against Angola, the No. 4 seed from Group A.
Reserve forward Rudy Gay sat out the second half due to what was called a slightly pulled right groin.
The Americans misfired on nine of 10 three-point attempts in the first half and failed to show any sustained stretches of good offense.
“On these next few days, we have to get better,” Krzyzewski said.