Additional Quotes >> USA 87, Greece 59
Aug. 25, 2010 • Athens, Greece
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
About the game:
We know itís an exhibition game, Greece did not have its two big guys (Sofoklis Schortsanitas and Yiannis Bourousis) inside, but for us it was good to play another international game against a great country, a good atmosphere, and it just gives us more experience. Weíre happy that we got a chance to play everyone and I think they played all their healthy players. The score is insignificant really because they didnít have their complete team against us.
Were you pleased with the play of your guards and is there concern about you lack of big guys?
We were pleased with having the combinations we had on the court. Weíre not a big team and they (Greece) hurt us inside and they probably would have hurt us inside more if they had their two other guys. Thatís just something weíre going to have to overcome with our size and quickness.
What impressed you most and least with todayís game and do think the guys are ready to head to Istanbul?
I was happy with the amount of time everyone got. I thought we played hard and we looked at some different combinations at guard and how we rotated people in the second half. We keep trying to learn about ourselves and I think weíll even do that through pool play. But weíre as ready as we can be going to Turkey and hopefully weíll get better while weíre there.
You missed some free throws and had some turnovers, was that a concern for you even though you were in control of the game?
Itís a game and youíre going to miss shots and youíre going to make some mistakes, but as long as those mistakes or misses donít have an impact in a negative way on the rest of your game. I was surprised when Chauncey missed a couple (of free throws) but then he hit a three right after so that was pretty good.
Weíd like to thank you for your hospitality and for giving us the opportunity to play in great venue, and a great city. Even when I was not the national coach my love for Greece and Greece basketball is a very deep one. I have very good friends here. So thank you for the great treatment. I hope both of our teams will be healthyÖand play well inTurkey. So thank you from our whole team.
Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
What changes now for you heading into Turkey?
Nothing. Iím going to tell the guys that of course now the games mean something. But at the same time weíre out here these last three games pouring our hearts out. Weíre playing extremely hard. Weíre going to play the same way. Weíre going to play extremely hard, play together and try to come out victorious.
Between the first day of training in Las Vegas and now, whatís the signature moment for this team in your opinion?
I think the signature moment for this team is probably that first quarter against Spain. All this time we heard how we were nowhere near as good as Spain, Spain is going to crush us, and all that. We got off to a bad start in the Lithuania game, so everybodyís coming back out saying, Ďah man, this team, whatever, whatever.í We jumped on Spain and had a great quarter. Of course, as good as they are, they get back into the game. Even if we lose that game, I feel that with the way that weíve played, came out with the energy and toughness that we showed and displayed, thatís who we are. Thatís who we are as a team. That was a big time for us.
What are the coaches still most concerned about?
More than anything, I think itís still rebounding the ball and going at a high level. Still knowing that we are a small team, rebounding and sometimes we get a little wacky and turn the ball over a little too much. Those are our main two concerns. But those are the things that we can get a little better control of after playing more and more together, knowing each other more.
On the Greek team:
Obviously they didnít have the big fellow (Sofoklis Schortsanitas) playing, heís a tough match-up with anybody. They werenít the Greece that Iím sure weíll see if we play them in Turkey. But at the same time, Iím sure they wanted to come out and win, playing on their home soil. We have a really competitive rivalry with that team as well, so they wanted to win. I thought we came out and play as hard as we could.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
What did coach K talk to you guys about at halftime?
Getting some more energy. We were up 10 and we wanted to use that opportunity to practice playing with a lead. We wanted to use our energy on defense to get some stops to make it easier on ourselves down the stretch. We had a little lapse at the beginning of the fourth quarter, but obviously in the second half we put on pressure and really executed.
Does your speed and athleticism tend to wear other teams down?
The fact that we can rotate so many guys in and not lose a step is definitely beneficial on defense when youíve got guards who can push the ball full court. Teams that arenít as deep will have to adjust to that. Itís going to definitely work to our advantage.
What is the hallmark of this team?
Our depth, our versatility and our speed. From top to bottom everybody can play and score the ball and I think weíre really defending well. We have our leaders, our go-to guys with K.D. and Derrick Rose, those kinds of guys who are definitely getting us going out of the gate. Then the back-up line-up coming in and not missing a step, I think we have everything covered.
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the evolution of the team since starting in Vegas:
Weíre getting more comfortable, everybody is, since that first game against France. Now that weíre getting more comfortable, itís starting to get easier playing with everybody. Derrick (Rose) got out to a great start. Everybody who started for us, Lamar, Chauncey, those two guys are veterans. When guys like them start to get more and more comfortable, more and more of your offense and defense come together. Everybodyís coming out and playing hard. I think thatís the best thing about it.
You missed a bunch of shots in the game, but you kept at it.
They just told me to be aggressive. I got good looks. I just wanted to make them. I think I got off to a better start in the second half. I think that regardless I was able to drive a little bit and take the shots I wanted to take. I was able to help my teammates out as far as rebounding, blocking shots and passing the basketball, so they kind of opened up for me.
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Looking forward to the teamís growth:
The thing we need to do is understand that weíre a group thatís just coming together so we have to improve game by game.† We are competing against ourselves.† We want to the best that we can be in this short period of time we are together.
On the defensive mindset of the team:
Thatís how itís going to be throughout the tournament.† We are going to have to allow our defense to turn on the offense.† Weíre a scrappy, athletic team.† We got to allow that to transition into offense.
On going into the tournament:
Iím excited that itís finally here.† I think we all were kind of like biting at the bit.† We want to make sure and came and played this game and didnít look forward to Turkey and look over Greece.† I thought we did that and we came out and played a good game and now itís time.
Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies)
On the game
It was a great game, playing against a great team.† We just pressured them defensively and that really helped us out a lot.
On the defensive mindset of the team:
Thatís our staple.† Thatís what we have to do every night in order to become the champions we want to become.
Looking forward to the tournament:
One more stepping stone.† We passed the other tests and now we are just ready to get into it.
On pulling away in the fourth quarter:
We pressured them. The second team came on and we pressured them also and we really got into them defensively. Defense is going to win the game for us every time.
Is one of the hallmarks of this team the depth and athleticism that you have?
Yeah, we donít want to relax on anything. I feel as though weíre just as good coming off the bench as we are starting. We proved that today. We know that we have to go out and we have to leave everything on the court. We know that the people who come off the bench are just as ready as the starters.
On the teamís growth from the first day of training to now:
Itís grown so much. Weíve gotten a lot better. Weíve gotten so much better. We know each other better. We know each otherís games better and it showed the way we came out here and played today.
Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers)
General comments on the game.
Well Iím just making open shots. Our team was in great rhythm and I basically scored off transition baskets, just hitting threes and just hitting easy layups.
Can you feel the team coming together and getting to know each other better on the court?
Most definitely. You know people are starting to know their roles and weíre just playing more together.
Is this a good way to finish up and head to Turkey; do you feel like the team is making progress?
Definitely. Itís going to be a challenge when we get there and we know weíve got the talent to adjust to anybody so I think weíre well prepared.
The coaches have said improvement needs to be on going even in the tournament, would you agree?
Yes, definitely. As long as we have good energy throughout the whole next couple of weeks I think weíll be fine.
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
On the game
I think we did a really good job of trying to wear them down.† Usually thatís our game plan Ö teams might be with us the first couple of minutes but we grind it out.† Third quarter, we did a great job of Ö I think we held them to one field goal for a long time Ö we got on the break and finishing.† We got our second unit in and they were able to get accustomed to each other as well.† Things are starting to come together.
On the defensive mindset of the team?
We have to let our defense dictate our offense.†† Keep that mind set, get stops and we let the game do the talking.
On going into Turkey?
We are really excited to get started.†† We just want to go out there and win.† I think weíre really hungry and weíre really excited to have the opportunity to play for the USA and we want to bring back home the gold.
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
On the game
We just came out and played team ball.† There were a couple spurts there where the runs really came back at us with their team.† They had a good big man in there who had 17 in the first half.† We definitely just wanted to slow down the pick and roll and come out there and keep playing our style of basketball.
Is this the kind of game you like, a physical one?
Thatís what I love.† Itís very physical over here Ö not saying the NBA isnít, but I think Iím very well-suited for this type of play and I got a chance to show that tonight.
Thoughts going into Turkey?
Like Coach K said, weíre there now.† We donít have to look ahead or look forward to going there because we have an hour flight tomorrow Ö we get off the plane and weíre there.† Weíre going to have, I think, a tripleheader heading into Turkey.† Weíre very excited for it.† Coming into Athens, we felt like we played well and hopefully we can steamroll into Turkey.
Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)
Are you using the ďB TeamĒ talk as motivation?
Always. We love to compete. Weíre professionals. One of the best things about playing sports is being competitive. When someone says you canít, it makes you more motivated.
Do you think you can get better?
You can always get better individually and as a team. As a basketball player, basketball is a complete game, whether youíre shooting, passing, ball handling, free throws, shooting, you can always get better. You can get better as a team as well. What we want to do is be the best team in this upcoming tournament.
Have you gotten better as a team?
Just the exhibition games made us better. This is a great way to practice, especially against someone else. Weíre really pushing each other and weíre looking forward to playing in Turkey.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
What did coach talk to you about at halftime?
Just to keep playing hard, donít let them come back like Spain did after halftime.
Is it good to have a win like this under your belt heading into the World Championship?
Yeah, it gives us a lot of confidence. Knowing that we can put teams away a little bit. It was kind of hard at first, but I think we got into the groove of the game. Weíve got a lot of confidence and we trust in one another even more so that in tough situations, you know that you can win the game.
Itís bittersweet to have to lose a teammate whoís been with you for three weeks, but is it good to be down to the final 12 players?
Definitely. With the guys that we have, it shows you that we can win. I hope that we can continue to win, but even if we donít weíre going to go out there and play as hard as we can.
Is the depth one of the hallmarks of this team?
Yeah, thatís our goal. When they first come out, theyíll be all excited and weíll be pumped up. But I think that as long as the game goes, if we play very hard, we can wear them down with all our players.
On the game
We went out with a bang.†† We played well.† At halftime, we just tried to come out play aggressive and not let them back in, like we did Spain. Thatís something weíve been working on and itís coming along.
On winning the MVP:
That was fun.† All of that stuff is great.† Guys were playing with me and stuff like that.† Itís something that I can tell my kids about when I get older.† Iím happy to be here.
On the defensive mindset of the team:
Defense wins championships.† Offense wins games.† Right now, weíre trying to win a World Championship.† Weíre taking it one game at a time, playing hard and just trying to play together, have trust and confidence in each other.
Looking forward to the weekend?
I canít wait.† Itís going to be fun
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the game:
It was a fun game for us.† Everybody played hard and played together.† We came out with a good victory to lead us into Turkey.
Are you starting to figure out as a team the best ways to play together?
Definitely.† We starting to play together, starting to play a lot better and starting to use each other a lot better.
How much are you looking forward to Turkey?
A lot.† Itís going to be tough and itís going to be a good experience for me and ourselves.