Additional Quotes >> USA 118, Uruguay 79
August 29, 2007 ï¿½ Las Vegas, NevadaUSA head coach Mike Krzyzewski
On today's game:
We were really pleased with the effort tonight. Just so you know with Carmelo, he will be ready to play tomorrow, he had a little bit of tenderness in his heel and the back of his leg and after playing night after night, it was precautionary. At half time we decided to give a couple of guys who had been playing dominate minutes and dominate roles an opportunity to get ready for tomorrow. Overall I was pleased and we should be I full health tomorrow. The next four days are we have come together; we're very excited to play.
Any significance to Kobe not being on the bench in the second half?
No, we wanted to ice. All of these guys have something a little bit wrong with them, they play over 100 games a year. He is just being iced, there was no need for him to be out there. It's not like he wasn't supportive of his team mates. Leave the guy alone, he was just getting iced.
It's hard to tell in 30 or 40 point games, are there things you think this team needs to work on for next year?
The main thing is to keep knowing each other. Although we were together last year we didn't have Jason or Kobe and Chaunce and Deron Williams, these guys really like, even more than like they really respect one another and respect each other's games. With LeBron, he doesn't have to score a point. He's not even looking for points. He'll take what's there. His voice out on the court is the most important thing, his leadership and his enthusiasm. LeBron's enthusiasm for this team and for the game has really elevated our team.
Anything specific on court that they need to work on?
You're always working on everything. Tyson's free throw, my bad play calling, we're working on stuff. We only practiced a week and now you're playing all these games, there is always going to be slippage, as long as your not slippage in effort and enthusiasm, which there hasn't been.
People think it's going to be a huge game tomorrow but you still have to look ahead to the game on Saturday.
I think for one thing we have looked at each game as a huge game, our guys have given a good effort. I think that the caliber of the teams against even brings out more from you. We ultimately respect what they've done and what they've done here.
How does this year's Argentina's team compare to the team you saw in the Bronze medal team you saw last year in Japan.
They're younger. They put guys in staring roles and I think it's elevated their games in Scola and Delfino. Their guard is also the ultimate international guard, no mistakes. He's got these 10 assists, two turnover games, hits the open shots, puts pressure on the ball. Scola and Delfino have elevated their games.
Some Argentina players and coaches are saying that they plan on slowing down the US, is that even possible? What can you from this particular group and project it onto next year.
We're not going to project to next year. We have to take care of business right here. Whatever game plan another coach or team has we'll try to make proper adjustments and just because they say it doesn't mean that's what they are going to do. You wouldn't believe that sometimes in the newspaper business, but sometimes they don't tell you the exact truth.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
What are you expecting from Argentina?
I think Argentina is going to be hungry. They will try to prove something. They don't have all their players so they will want to make a statement. I guarantee we will be ready for tomorrow. We will be very excited.
Are you expecting a tough defensive game?
Tell you what, I live for games like this, we live for games like this, defensive games where we probably won't go out there and beat them by 30, 40 points. It will be a good game and we will go out there and fight.
Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
Did you have any flashbacks to the playoffs when LeBron was going off?
No, I really didn't but now that you say that you know, it makes sense.
You walked in tonight looking pretty confident.
I thought we was able to give the team a boost. It's just like in the regular season or any other season. We kind of started to struggle a little bit and then we brought the second team in, you kind of depend on that second team to bring a little energy and try to maintain the game or even take it up to another level. We did that today and once they came back in it was over.
We played great. It's a beautiful thing that we got a great, great team. A lot of these teams, I can't imagine playing most of the games or playing six nights in a row. Obviously it's a fight for their lives trying to get into the final four. They are playing heavy, heavy minutes six nights in a row, four nights in a row. The beauty of our time is that none of us has to play over 15.
What do you think about Argentina?
I haven't seen them play yet. They got a great team and this is the game that we've been looking forward to.
What do you think of Carlos [Delfina]?
I love Carlos. I think Carlos is a really good player. Of course I know his game a lot better than a lot of people. I'm happy for him. I'm happy he's playing so well. Tomorrow we got a tough job.
How do you think everybody is growing into their roles?
One thing that I know about having a great team I think some people have to sacrifice some things that are in their normal roles. Wins or losses a lot of times it depends on how I play or how a couple of guys on our team in Detroit play but we come here and we can share the work.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
We don't think. The key for us is to get better. Now we're facing teams that are extremely well prepared and execute things like a Brazil, an Argentina, like a Spain, a Greece, etc. you have to be ready to meet that level.
In the Americas tournament compared to the competition in the European or world championship you see things like Spain, a Greece are you looking for it at all?
I'm just looking forward to the challenge. It's just going to be a lot of fun to play against players who ordinarily don't match up against you. You get a chance to learn about them, about their country, about the way they play and there fans.
We're right where we want to be. We're playing extremely well. At both ends of the floor we seem to be executing. We just got to try to keep that going and improve even.
He's on fire. LeBron is one of those players, man, when's he's hot, he gets to be on fire. Going to the basket, getting a lot of transition buckets.
You were gone from the bench at the end of the game. Were you hurt at all?
No. Just resting. Just resting my old bones. Jason and I kind of take turns on that.
Are you looking forward to meeting Argentina?
Yes, I am. They are a very experienced team. From what I've seen from them so far they are extremely well prepared. They come in with a plan. They come in with a strategy and they try to execute it to perfection. Those are the teams we are going to have the most challenge with because they play with such a great heart.
What will be the difference between playing against Uruguay and playing against Argentina?
Argentina has a plan. They know what they want to do; they know how to defend you. We have to play the mental game.
Execution. They're a very disciplined team; they're a very confident team. They believe that they can beat us. They believe that they deserve to beat us. When you have teams like that, that's when you have a really fun match up.
What is the mood of this team?
We are having great time. What is important for us is to work together and continue to get better and get ready for next summer.
How good is Esteban Batista?
Batista is very good, very skillful around the basket. He has great foot work.
Tyson Chandler, New Orleans Hornets
It's been going good. I'm getting better with the rules, better with the way games are played and better with my teammates. I understand what my job is, I'm supposed to come in, bring a little bit of energy.
How's the chemistry between you guys so far?
It's been excellent. You'd think we've been teammates the whole year. Everybody wants to do well. We understand what we're playing for; we're playing for our country. It's not about individuals out here.
What's it like playing with all of these guys?
Sometimes you're in awe. It's just amazing the way the guys are moving up and down the floor. To get a chance to play with these guys night in, night out, it's a blessing.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Can Argentina dictate your style of play?
We're going to dictate the way we want to play; we're not going to let them dictate. We are looking forward to a great game.
Your thoughts on LeBron James' performance?
We really needed him to pick us up. We were sluggish out there a little bit. That is what is great about this team; there is always someone to step up. He did an excellent job. He's a great team player.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
What is our opinion on Uruguay.
Today was great, I think we want to continue to improve. We don't want to take a step backwards we want to continue to get better as a team, offensively and defensively. We did that today, it was another great showing by us today.
What is your opinion on Esteban Batista?
He is a good player, I think they have a good player in Batista. He played very well today, very strong. He uses the rim very good. He had a pretty nice game today.
How have you seen this team evolve since 2004 to now?
I think there is whole little family thing kicks in a lot. You see it in the locker room, we get along with each other, and we have fun. It all translates to on court, when we get on court we really respect each other and we go out there and play as a family and that has definitely showed in the first seven games.
I think last summer we really started to get it going. On the 2004 team we didn't have as much as a family oriented team. Last summer we started doing that and this summer it just full blossomed out.
Talk about the rivalry that has developed between the US and Argentina over the last several years.
It has defineatly become a rivalry between us we want to continue to get better, tomorrow is going to be a challenge for us and it's going to be a big challenge for Argentina also. If we continue to do what we have been doing for the last week and a half, two weeks, we'll be fine.
You looked like you zoned out a little bit that first quarter, do you think playing late into June helped maybe helped right now in terms of your jump shot and your feeling?
I don't know. I've been focused on it, working on it, just trying to get better to help us win on this USA basketball team. Whatever it takes, just being out there, just trying to be a leader and carry us to victory.
On Luis Scola
He's a very active player. He does everything and anything. And he continues to get better every summer. He's a very good player and we need to be in tune and keep a bottle on him tomorrow.
Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
How is your ankle feeling?
It's much better. Not 100% but I feel great.
Which was a better performance, what LeBron did you guys in game five or what you saw tonight?
Obviously in the NBA when you pull off a game like that, it doesn't even compare to this out here. When you do it on the stage of the eastern conference finals, I don't even know why you asked me that. That's not even close.
Can you talk about how you guys have bought into your roles here?
We're just trying to win ball games. We have a goal set for us. We just playing basketball. If the first group is getting off to a slow start and the guys on the bench are picking them up and if the second group is having a tough time, we get the starters back in to pick it up. We kind of got into a slow start tonight and the guys off the bench, Amare and those guys brought the energy back in. Obviously, when the starters came back into the game it was the LeBron James show. These are the types of things that happen when you have each other's back.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
Considering the individual stars is this team unselfish?
We put the emphasis on the USA not the Lakers, the Bucks, or the Pistons. It's all about the USA and winning the gold medal. We want that gold medal that's the bottom line. We will sacrifice even our own games to get that gold medal.
Is ego ever an issue?
No. We talked about that at training camp. Ego can't be involved at all. Everyone has to play together and for each other and sacrifice.
What is the mindset of this team?
We have the mindset to not only win but to dominate. We're worried about how we win, you know, playing the right way, playing unselfishly. If we do that, we'll be just fine.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
You were shooting the three pretty well tonight. Did you feel pretty good coming into the game?
My shot feels good. I had some open looks. Coach has been getting on me for not shooting as much. I had open looks so I just tried to let it go tonight.
Did you feel you guys were in a better rhythm towards the end of the game?
We were kind of sluggish early, had to mix the line-up up a little bit, got a little bit of energy and just tried to go from there.
Does it feel good playing with this group?
I like everybody. How can you not like playing with 11 of the best players in the world?