Additional Quotes >> USA 89, Russia 79
Sept. 9, 2010 ē Istanbul, Turkey
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
About the game:
First, Iíd like to congratulate the Russian team for playing such a terrific game. Coach Blatt has had an amazing career in coaching in Russia and the way his team played today is an example of the high quality of coaching that he gives his players. We knew it would be a very difficult game and it was. I thought we were ready and we played hard. Itís just that Russia played with great passion and they played very well. It was a very well earned win against a terrific team with a terrific coach.
What did you tell the team at the timeout when you were down 35-30?
They were playing good defense and we werenít hitting shots. They seemed to be in control of the game. What I worry about for a U.S. team in those spots is game pressure where all of a sudden the other team is playing so well and you put so much pressure on yourself. The main thing in the timeout was just relax. Itís a long game, just play each possession.
Can you speak to the job Andre Iguodala did when he came back in the game in the second quarter?
When we put Andre back in, we put him in a position against a zone more under the bucket so he could get some offensive rebounds for us. He did his job as did (Russell) Westbrook, his sub. Westbrook in the second half was a difference maker.
On the play of Kevin Durant:
Weíre going to go to him. Iíve learned that in coaching, you should get your best player the ball. A lot of times, they make you look good as a coach. The thing I would say in addition to what (Russian coach) David (Blatt) mentioned about Kevin. Kevin has been with us every summer for the last five years Ö on a select team Ö he almost made the 2008 Olympic team. Every summer, he has shown up to play. There is no kid in the world that loves to play more than that kid. As a result, heís becoming better and better and better. There is a lot of pressure on him because weíre a young and everyone is pointing to him and overall he has responded in a truly magnificent way.
On the inside advantage the Russian had on the USA:
For us to play against not just two really big guys, but two guys who are used well. We came into the game and we said the Russian team will play hard, together and with great passion and the most consistent part of their game is their center position. The two guys, (Alexander) Kaun and (Timofey) Mozgov, averaged 24 or 25 points and 10 or 11 rebounds from that position. I thought (Lamar) Odom and (Wilson) Chandler played them fairly well and it didnít become a dominant thing that hurt us. It was a good game for us to play against two outstanding players who are used well. You can play against an outstanding player who is not used well. They use them well and I thought we defended overall Ö it was even Ė they didnít dominate and we didnít stop them but it didnít become a part of the game where it could have beaten us.
Durant played over 35 minutes Ö was he out there too much?
Iím unsure until the game is over. Iíve coached for 35 years and so many things can happen in this game. When youíre playing against a team that doesnít quit and is good, you know theyíre going to play every possession. Thatís what Russia did. Kevin plays more than that for Oklahoma City. The amount of time was irrelevant. Probably the worst coaching move I could have made in this game was to take him out of the game. Iím more of a guy Ö Iíll ride my horses until the end and heís one of our horses. Heís a pretty good player.
Thoughts on the physical nature of the game?
It was a fight. It was like an Eastern Conference playoff game. It was very physical from the jump. The team that was going to win was going to be the team that imposed their will on the game. They want to play slow, they want to bang. We want to play fast and we want to be physical as well but we want to speed the tempo up and we finally got to that in the second half.
What did the team do in the second half to take away Russiaís offensive rebounding edge?
Our energy picked up. We made a couple adjustments: one on pick and roll and one on their offensive rebounding. We made a couple adjustments and executed those adjustments. When we did that, the game kind of turned in our favor.
On your increased focus and aggressiveness over the last two games in the medal round?
I know whatís at stake. I know what it means. I know that these guys need me to step up and be me and do what I do. Because of that, Iím going to be aggressive. The rest of the way, Iím going to be aggressive and try my best to give us a boost every night. From whether its offensively or defensively Ö just gives us something every single night to help us get over the hump.
Thoughts on playing Lithuania?
Theyíre a very dangerous team. (Linas) Kleiza is playing great. Heís a tough matchup for anybody. They got a lot of shooters. Theyíre playing with a different confidence level right now than they were a couple weeks ago. This is a different team. I look forward to it though.
What is your thought process going into the final weekend?
Weíre in the final four and Iím just excited. We have an opportunity to do something that weíll remember for the rest of our lives Ė either way. You might as well do it the right way.
Tyson Chandler (Dallas Mavericks)
Was the physical nature of this game good for you?
We knew it was going to be a physical game. We knew they would come out and be physical and aggressive. I liked the way we battled. We didnít back down. Because of that, we kept forward and were able to get the victory.
On the ability to take away offensive rebounds in the second half?
We got more aggressive and also in getting more aggressive, we got smarter and stayed with our defensive assignments. A lot of times, we were over running plays and then we were scrambling where they were able to get their hands on a lot of loose balls. In the second half, we were more steady, more patient defensively and because of that, we were able to force them into one shot and then fast break.
Talk about your first stint in when you gave the team a spark?
I obviously have an opportunity coming off the bench to see the flow of the game and see what the team needs. Whenever you are coming off the bench, my job is to bring a spark. Itís different from playing starter minutes. When I come in, if its for a short stint, I got to give it everything I got and thatís what Iím going to do.
What is your mindset going into the last two games?
All the games are going to intense from here on out. We understand what weíre playing for and every team came for the same thing and thatís the gold. We all canít win it. As long as weíre focused and dialed in, I canít see anybody beating us.
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the game:
Today was a very tough game for us. In the beginning they made a lot of shots. We had to adjust and I think we did a good job of doing that. We got better as the game was going. You have to give credit to Russia for coming out there and playing hard for 40 minutes. It was a fun game for us and we are looking forward to tomorrow.
What were the adjustments you made for the second half?
First off, on the pick and rolls, we chose to kind of show a little bit more and make the guard make a tougher play. In the first half, we was letting them run around and make great passes to the bigs and to the 3-point shooters. We wanted to close that off. Lamar Odom did a great job of that as well. I think when the play zone, we just have to drive them and penetrate and kick Ö we got a lot of shots at the rim.
What has been the key to the team doing a better job protecting the ball?
I think our point guards are doing a better job of making the easy pass. In pool play, sometimes you try to make the home run play Ė a behind the back pass or a full court outlet pass. Weíre just making the right play and better on finishing. We still have a long ways to go in that area but we got better since the first game.
What are your thoughts on Luis Scola and how he played in this tournament?
Heís having a wonderful tournament Ö such a great player not only in international play but in the NBA as well. Heís a tough cover for anybody. He does so much for his team. Heís a total player.
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
On the game:
I think it was a good game for our team to go through. We always say that these type of games are the hardest because you tend to look to the future like these games are going to come and go with a win. I think we did a really good job of focusing tonight on the game plan. They were a really physical team. We played through some adversity early on and kept our composure and got the win.
Andre Iguodala talks about the U.S. victory over Russia
Talk about the spark you gave when you came back in for the second quarter:
I was just trying to make something happen. I think thatís one of the things Coach K wants me to do on this team is to make things happen on the defensive end. Do the dirty work and be scrappy. I got a few put backs and offensive rebounds Ö got a deflection here and there Ö started breaks. Iím just trying to understand my role and try to make the most out of my minutes when Iím out there.
Do you enjoy that role?
Yeah, itís been a lot of fun. Just seeing how other guys do their job and then I get to see how it is for guys that do the dirty work. Itís really important for everybody to do their job, to make a whole in order for us to get the W. Itís not about scoring Ö itís not about getting blocked shot. Itís about attention to detail and everything come together smoothly in order to win the game.
What was the difference in the first half and second half?
We were a little more scrappy. We got to loose balls. We were boxing out a little bit better. We were just physical with them. We hit them first. The key element to rebounding the ball is to hit them first. Long shots are going to be long rebounds so understand that as well.
Your thoughts on playing Lithuania who you saw in a friendly a few weeks back?
They can be one of those games that can trick you. We beat them before. Theyíre a very tough team. They played us well the first game. Theyíve gotten a lot better. Weíve gotten better. Theyíre looking for revenge and weíre looking to make the next step towards a gold medal.
Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)
On the game:
You got to understand what winning is and sometimes teams arenít going to allow you to blow them out. Theyíre going to fight and I was telling the team when we got up about four or six to embrace the competition. Thatís what makes it fun and makes it worthwhile.
What was the difference in rebounding in the second half?
Playing smart. When we allowed them the offensive rebounds, we let them come off the pick and roll, let the screener dive, let the jump shooter shoot wide open jump shots and we were chasing the ball. They played a tough game and they executed really well. We just didnít adjust. Sometimes we have to adjust a little quicker, I think, so we donít get behind the 8-ball.
Did you enjoy the physical nature of the game?
You want it to be tough. When the games are tough, you appreciate winning a little more. You grow up a little bit. Guess we grew up a little bit.
Yeah. Let these other guys beat up on each other and then we get to play them.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
What was the difference between this game and the rest of the tournament?
Itís no difference. Theyíre coming out, giving us all they got, making it tough for us, making itís a fight almost every game. We know we have to take one game at a time.
What would you say to people that the USA team doesnít play a team game?
I think weíre playing well as a team right now. KD is our leading scorer on the team. In tough situations, we always go to him. I tell him that we feed off him because heís the one that can score the ball best on our team. Weíre riding his coat tail right now.
Do you feel youíre starting to jell as a team over the last couple of weeks?
Definitely. Weíre jelling now. Tough games like this are definitely getting us prepared for hopefully the championship.
Do you feel your starters are playing too much?
We got a lot of good players. Coach K is doing all the subbing so you never know who is going to play and how many minutes someone is going to play every game.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the game:
It was a tough start for us. We came out a little slow but we picked it up in the second quarter and into the second half.
What was the difference for you personally in the second half of the game?
I was rushing in the first half and I told myself that I need to slow down and let the game come to me. I think I did a good job of that starting on the defensive end.
What did the team learn tonight?
In a tournament, the next game is always the hardest game. You just have to go out there and be physical and be tough and I think we did a good job of that tonight.