Team USA didn’t need much from Kobe Bryant (or LeBron James for that matter) in order to spank the Tunisian national team in a 110-63 rout. Bryant did score the first bucket of the game so if nothing else at least he gave his country a kick start as the gold medal favorites improved to a 2-0 mark in group play.
That first bucket by Bryant was one of two he dropped in the opening quarter which would be good for his total for the entire contest. Four points on five shots is a slow 10 minutes of hoops for KB24 in an NBA game but in the Olympics that’s just fine for KB10. At least for now it is.
Of course Kobe’s four were just one off of what LeBron put at the end of the box score today. King James put up a Kobe-esque five on four shots. It should be noted Bryant only got 8 minutes of burn while LeBron put in a solid 18 minutes of work.
I’d expect more out of Bryant when the competition gets a little better or if/when he sees teammate Pau Gasol in the highly anticipated Spain-USA rematch.
For now this is the Kobe of the U.S. Men’s team. He’s by no means the focal point of the team’s offense. And in many ways the 2012 Olympic experience is providing a blueprint of sorts for what the NBA version of Bryant might look like next season. There’s no chance of the Lakers winning much with Kobe scoring four points on five shots. That works just fine if you’ve got Carmelo Anthony and Anthony Davis combining to shoot a perfect 11 of 11 from the field. For the here and now all Team USA needs from Kobe is leadership and the occasional clutch moment when/if needed. The Lakers will need more than that but a slightly reduced role could go a long way in L.A.’s title chances for the upcoming season.
Carmelo and Kevin Love led the way for the U.S.A. with 16 points a piece. They were two of six players to crack double digits for the Red, White & Blue. Kevin Durant dropped a double-double going for 13 and 10 while Chris Paul handed out 7 dimes.
Up next for the Men’s team will be a clash with Nigeria on Thursday.