Additional Quotes >> USA 80, Brazil 69
July 16, 2012 • Washington, D.C.
"It was a great game for us. I think Brazil's really one of the outstanding international teams. Huertas as a guard played great against us in Istanbul, and he's even better right now. He's just a terrific guard. And that rotation of three bigs is huge. Nene, Splitter and Varejao and when they bring Giovannoni to spread you, they're tough to defend.
Ruben is as good a coach as there is in the world, really. He's done such a magnificent job in Argentina and now in Brazil.
I felt our defense won the game. I thought it was outstanding for three quarters, especially since we didn't hit shots and we missed a lot of dunks. I liked the mental toughness of our team. We kept reminding them we're not doing it on offense, don't let it affect defense. I thought it didn't.
Tyson made big plays for us at the end of the half defensively, and Iguodala made big plays throughout. So we learned a lot. We grew. Our fourth practice where we had the whole team together, so to win a game like this when we're not hitting is a good thing for us."
On the first quarter:
"I don't think our team needs to be humbled. I think they are. I mean, they're not going on the court thinking no one else is going to show up against them. They have deep respect for Brazil's team. I mean, LeBron and Varejao played together. When we went through scouting, LeBron was saying there is nobody who gets on the offensive boards any better.
We have a lot of respect for them. I thought we ended up shooting too many jump shots in the first half -- not in the first half, in the first quarter. We did not have defensive intensity. If this team doesn't have that, we're going to get scored on.
I mean 27 points in ten minutes, and 42 in 30. It's a huge difference. We're going to have to -- if we win the gold medal, it will be because of how well we play defensively. To win this game like that I think is a good learning experience for our group."
On adjustments after the first quarter:
"Well, they actually had the lead at the end of the first period, so it wasn't just early. I thought they outplayed us in that first period. They were getting by our defense. We were overrunning the offense.
What we tried to do then is pick up a little bit further back and make sure that they try to turn them into a half court team. They were a little bit more full court in the first half. Our defense was kind of spread out. In that second period, we did a good job. It would have been two points if we didn't recognize as a group that Giovannoni came in and he hits the three, and you're guarding the two bigs who are not good shooters and they don't shoot threes and we left him alone. That was three of their points."
On Anthony Davis:
"Yeah, Anthony's a young guy. In a game like this, he's ten years younger than any of those big guys he's playing against. He's going to be a terrific player. I think the experience of being with this team as we move along as he gets accustomed, we have three more exhibition games, and five games of pool play.
By medal round, I don't know what type of experience playing time-wise he'll get, but he'll get a lot of experience just being with this team. Remember, he's just been with us a couple of days. He doesn't even know all the sets and that.
But our emphasis is not on him. It's on the guys who are going to play the majority of minutes."
On guarding Brazil's bigs:
"Yeah, I thought they did a terrific job. They battled. I think one thing I want to talk to our guys about is the fact that Kevin Durant, Carmelo, they're scorers.
When they have to play a big like that, there is a lot of physicality that when you get to the offensive end of the court, it has its impact on you.
There is like a little bit different concentration than it would be if you were guarding the three and chasing somebody. You can get hit. You can get hit in the mouth. I mean, nothing illegal or anything, but playing big guys like that is much more distracting. Our guys played well.
Iguodala is a great defensive player. We can put him on anybody on the court, and he's going to do a great job on them. I thought he covered the bigs well. He can cover a five. But if he fronts them, then we've got to give help on the help side.
But I thought we held our own against them. I didn't think we took advantage of them enough offensively with the mismatch they had against us."
On meeting the President:
"He was just socializing with us, so I'm not sure he knew the score of the game. I was a little bit antsy. But what an honor for our team to have the President and his wife and family be there, and for him to grace us with his presence here tonight was a fantastic gesture. He wished us Godspeed, and afterwards I had a chance to talk to him, and I said you should have told them a little bit to start hitting shots.
But I didn't think he wanted to be a coach. He was a President and a good man, and it was an honor to have him in the locker room."
On LeBron James:
"LeBron played great. I think LeBron is not just a great player; LeBron is a great competitor. When he goes to the basket, he doesn't -- he doesn't get the call, even when he finishes, because he's so strong. He goes through contact. His will to win was the most inspiring thing that we had on our team. He's has a very, very competitive game, our best player."
On toughest opponent at the Olympics:
"They're not going to get too much tougher than the one we played tonight. I think Brazil has a great chance to be in contention for a gold medal. We're going to play a couple other teams in exhibitions that also will be there. Argentina and Spain and then one team we will not face unless we cross over to them, France. France with Tony Parker leading them and all the NBA players they have will be really good. But this team tonight that we played will be right there."
On the test of Brazil's size:
"Yeah, it was a great test. I thought we did an excellent job with that. When they scored the 27 points in the first period, it wasn't as a result of not defending their bigs. I just think they got through our defense, our full court defense too quickly and caused numerical advantage possessions in their favor. Once we made that correction, it became a little bit more difficult for them to score."
On the team’s progress:
“We feel good. We are making strides. Today, we won the game on the defensive end. We were getting up and down the court, rebounding, holding them to one shot, getting key steals, and staying in the passing lane. We won this game on the defensive end.”
On the game:
“This was another test for us as far as playing against a team with three or four bigs out there. We did a good job in containing them and keeping them off the boards.”
On playing in Washington, DC:
“It was great to see the USA crowd was definitely in the building tonight. Just to have President Obama come out to support us before we are going over for the Olympics was a big statement.”
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
On tonight’s game:
“We did a fantastic job offensively, in terms of counter punching; we had to settle in at first and make our adjustments.”
On Brazil’s size:
“This was my first opportunity to play against a team that has a great deal of size. Seeing how they attacked their game plan for that and how they have learned to take advantage of it. Now it’s on us to learn from this, so when we play the next team of size, we will make our adjustments.”
On the team’s progress:
“We will do a much better job on our shots. Our legs were a little heavy and our shots were a little short but we will get better at it.”
Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks)
On Team Brazil’s Size:
“That was something that I was expecting in coming here, since the beginning of training camp. I don’t think we struggled because of the lack of bigs. It was our first real trip. They showed us some different looks and we adjusted to them defensively.”
On playing together:
“We are learning how to play with one another. We have some guys passing up shots, when they would normally take them. We are over rotating. We are doing a lot of things now that we will iron out before the Olympics starts.”
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the game:
“Our defense was great in the last three quarters, we just weren’t making all of our shots. We know we’re going to have some games where we start off slow, but we just have to keep up our defense and be more responsive. We had open shots off of the pick and rolls, we just have to work on making them. We have a group of great players and we just tried to go out there and play good basketball. It’s great being back here, because you know whether it’s a good game or a bad game your family and friends will still always support you.”
Thoughts on London:
“Right now we’re just trying to focus on us and getting better. When we start in London, then we will start focusing on how to beat those teams. We know it’s going to be tough but right now we just have to focus on us.”
James Harden (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the team:
“We have just been sticking with it. Obviously, our shots didn’t fall in this particular game but fortunately we still able to win. We held them to five points in the second quarter which was good. Our chemistry continues to build with every game we play together.”
On the game:
“I thought we did well. They got up and beat our pressure. Our defense wasn’t playing well. They got out to a lead so that was a good test for us. You have to give to give them credit, they did a good job of handling our pressure. The more and more we play together against other teams and not beat ourselves, the better we are going to be.”
On the game:
“We came out and didn’t shoot the ball extremely well. It got us down and we let our offense mess with our defense early on. Once we decided we needed to focus on our defense and not our offense we were able to turn the game around. It’s hard when you know you’re not scoring the ball like you know you can but it allowed us to pick up our defense even more and came out strong. I’m not much of a jump shooter, so I wanted to make sure I was getting in the paint on post-ups and drives to get us in the flow of the game.”
On President Obama:
“It’s very humbling and overwhelming. For all of us, to have the President be here to watch us play the game that we love is unbelievable. You have dreams of being in the NBA and dreams of making the jumper at the buzzer but you never have dreams of the President actually watching you play because you don’t think it’s possible. It’s definitely humbling to see him here as well as the First Lady.”
On the game:
“We need to settle down a little bit and try to contain players better. I feel like we were over aggressive tonight. We’re going to start every game like that because we want to see how teams react but then we need to settle down. We got a lot of great looks tonight but we just need to make the shots.”
Preparing for London:
“Hard fouls come with international basketball. We just have to keep playing defense the way that we did. That is what is going to win games for us over in London. We have some of the best shooters in the world and if we keep up our defense we will definitely be a problem for teams over there.”
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the defense in the second quarter:
“It was great. I think we held them to like five points. We did a great job of pressuring the ball and getting out on the break.”
On the team’s versatility:
“It’s great. That’s why they put this group of guys together. There are talented guys on this team that are capable of doing a lot of different things. On any given night one guy could score 30 or a lot of guys could score 10 or 12.”
Brazil Guard Leandro Barbosa
On the team:
“I like what we have, we are a good team. Our guys are confident and we know we can put the ball in the basket. We look to take this game as a lesson and continue to move in a positive direction.”
Brazil Forward Nene
On Brazil’s chances:
“If we continue to play hard and play together and believe in each other, we’re going to have great results.”
On the Wizards’ offseason:
“It was great. Bradley Beal is a great kid. He’s very mature for his age and very talented. The trade (for Emeka Okafor and Trevor Ariza) was a great addition for our team as well.”
Brazil Center Anderson Varejao
On the game:
“The USA has a great team and this was a very good test for us. From the beginning we came out and hustled on defense, and executed well on offense. We gave ourselves a chance to win the ball game. Our size was a factor we used it to our advantage. Our height can be a key factor not only against the U.S., but other opponents in the future. This game will be a learning experience, and we will build from this.”
On our effort:
“We have to do a better job of taking advantage of our opportunities. We led at a point in this game, and the fact that we let the lead get away is tough. All we can do is move on, continue to stay positive and play hard.”