Additional Quotes >> USA 118, Great Britain 78
Thoughts on the game?
What a great atmosphere. Thank you people of Great Britain for providing such a great crowd. We felt very welcome in this amazing environment, really, to play in. I’m glad to see that basketball evokes that type of enthusiasm in Great Britain. I thought the Great Britain team played really well. Luol (Deng) is one of the better players in the world. I like their toughness. We’re much quicker than they are and it produced a lot of turnovers, and we were very unselfish tonight. But, I like their team and the way they’re coached and how far they’ve come along these last few years.
Your views on Anthony Davis’ play tonight?
Well he’s a developing pro. He’s the best college player in the country, I really thought by far. He wasn’t sure he was even going to be on the team. He joined us almost 10 days late, so he’s catching up, getting the knowledge of our system. Tonight, he played really well. When we went zone, the physicality of the game did not enter into his game. He was able to roam free and that may be a weapon for us -- we go zone and have Anthony in the middle because he can certainly block some shots. He did a great job for us.
You had a lot of success with defense and transition … is that something you saw the Miami Heat have success with this year?
No. I mean, I love the way Miami does it, but I wasn’t motivated by that. That’s the way I have tried to play defense with my teams my whole life. This is the quickest and most athletic team I’ve ever coached. We’re not big inside, so it really behooves us to do it even more. We really need to pressure them so we’re not exploited inside. When we can change hands very, very fast … when we do get a rebound or a turnover, it’s beautiful. I mean, we had 39 assists tonight and nine turnovers. That’s sensational in any context.
It seemed you had lots of fans in the arena tonight. Do you expect that throughout the Olympics?
Obviously we love Great Britain. We’re brothers. I think the fans were just appreciative of outstanding basketball. One thing about this country, Great Britain, is you appreciate someone who is really good in their sport. There is an etiquette there. There is a respect that transcends all sports in Great Britain. If an opponent is that good, then you acknowledge that. Our guys played really hard tonight. It was just a really good night for basketball in Great Britain. I think Great Britain has a chance to do some damage in the Olympics in men’s basketball. I think they’re tough and they’re well-coached, and Luol is a great player, and what he’s done for his country and his commitment to this program is really sensational.
You changed the starting lineup tonight Is there any permanence to the lineup you used tonight?
I don’t necessarily think there is any permanence to our starting lineup. You basically have a group, a core group, of veterans, mostly from the Beijing Olympics that I think do need to be the core of this team because they’re older, they’ve been through the Olympics. Durant, talent-wise, is right there with any of them. So, some combination of the six or seven of those guys will start. We’ve talked about it. They’re fine with it. It has to start there. I’m not sure who will start against Argentina. I don’t think it really makes a difference. Like this morning, I just talked to them, ‘what if we did this’ and they said, ‘fine. Whatever you want to do.' It will be within that realm of seven players with Tyson at the center spot.
You said Great Britain could be a threat, actually the American team could meet GB in the medal round, will it be a different game?
I don’t know if it will be a completely different game. I hate answering questions about maybes, these hypotheticals are what my wife and daughter put me through all the time. They will not be shocked by the speed, they will already have played against the speed, so I think their reaction to it would be better than it was tonight. If we played them again, we would have to make sure we came out with the same effort because you can assume then you’re just going to win. In a one and done, that would be a bad assumption to make.
Is this a tough loss for Great Britain to take?
I don’t think they have faced anybody as athletic as we are. I talked to Luol after the game and told him ‘I really like your group.bYour toughness.’ You know he’s got a chance to get 30 to 40 points in a ball game. When you have somebody who has that ability and leadership and heart and the other guys can shoot, you can put pressure on people. He said they just have never faced that speed and quickness. You can’t practice that. You can’t simulate that, so I thought it was a great experience for them and us.
Thoughts on other team in the Olympics?
We haven’t watched many other teams yet. We’re still in a developing stage with our team. We think that this exhibition series that we’re on is very good. We’ve been tested by Brazil, and I think we reacted well to the time change coming over here. And, now we’ll see if we can do well against Argentina and Spain in the exhibitions. They’re so many good teams. We respect every team. There is a common thing like people say a wake up call, we are awake. We’ve never been asleep. And if we play poorly at times, it’s not that we’re not ready, it’s just that the other team is that good. We’re not going to look great all the time because the rest of the world is that good. We’ve known that since we took over the program in 2005, and we’re not going to assume anything. Hopefully with the way we’re playing will translate into a gold medal.
On LeBron James:
He was terrific. He was terrific. He’s been very good for us, such a team player – a real vocal leader for our team.
Comments on his time in Manchester:
And ending, we want to really thank the city of Manchester for hosting us in such a great way. Everyone’s been unbelievably friendly. I really think these last few days have been great for basketball in Great Britain, and we truly appreciate your hospitality.
On coming off the bench:
Coach just wanted to switch it up a little bit tonight. They’re still trying to figure out not so much his lineups, but getting everybody a feel for playing with one another. Tonight he wanted to go with KD (Kevin Durant) and Deron (Williams) he brought me and CP (Chris Paul) off the bench. So, we’re just trying to figure it out in these games, putting everybody in a lot of positions out there.
Is this the first USA Basketball game since 2006 that you came off the bench?
Yeah. But it was fine with me. Definitely fine with me. He came to us this morning, me and Chris (Paul), and asked us ‘were we okay with it?’ Why wouldn’t we be? It is what it is. He wanted to put a different lineup tonight against this team and see some different things. He’s still trying to figure it out as well, with this new group.
On his shooting tonight versus the game against Brazil:
Fresh legs. It was just fresh legs. Back in the States there was a lot going on as far as travel and having a lot of things to do. Here we’ve just been focusing on playing basketball, practicing and getting better.
On really being tested the USA’s next two contests:
Yeah, well we had a big test against Brazil, a team that has big guys. Argentina will definitely be another test for us. Then of course everybody wants to see the Spain matchup, so we’re getting prepared for that.
Who else is strong going into the Olympics?
Of course there’s Spain, Argentina, France is bringing their best squad out there. Everybody is bringing the best of the best to this Olympics. We’ll see what happens when we get there.
What are you looking forward to?
Getting it started. At the end of the day, getting over there and get it started. These friendly games are a lot of fun, but we’re ready for the real deal at this point. So, we just want to have fun with it.
How do you compete with so much pressure on the players?
You enjoy it. I mean, that’s what sports are about – answering the challenge, stepping up to the plate and responding to the pressure, so it makes it fun.
Can this team get better?
Sure. There are a lot of things that we can execute and do a lot better, but I’m pleased with how we’ve been playing so far.
Can anyone stop this team?
Yeah. I mean, we definitely have weaknesses that teams can take advantage of, and I think this trip to Barcelona is going to be very big for us because you are playing Argentina and Spain. So, we’ll get a good look at that.
What is your weakness?
Well, it’s size. It’s size and team being able to slow the game down and work the ball inside on use and we have to do a good job that night of taking care of our defensive pressure.
What does tonight’s game tell you?
I think the thing that we got better at was defensively, we did a great job. They started the game playing very well, and it was kind of an ugly first half. There were a lot of fouls, but still we were able to play through it and extend the lead.
On the bench, you are always standing and supporting everyone else. Is that important?
Yeah, absolutely. We have to make sure that we’re a team. We have great team camaraderie. Whether I’m on the bench or if I’m ion the floor, I want to encourage my teammates.
Is Anthony Davis a polished NBA player already?
No, no, he’s not polished yet. But he looks really good out there. It shows that he has a bright future ahead of him. I was really excited for him. Just getting thrown out there, I thought he did an excellent job
Do you think with Davis, he’s showing young kids that defense is as important as offense?
Absolutely. He has great potential on both ends. He has a great opportunity to be a great defender, as well as on the offensive end.
On tonight’s game:
We knocked down shots tonight. I think that was the biggest difference. In the last game against Brazil, we missed so many shots. We still missed some easy buckets, but that’s just getting used to the ball and getting our timing right.
What about the atmosphere here?
It was great. It’s been great ever since we’ve landed. It’s been great hospitality. The fans here are amazing and the people are very welcoming.
Who can stop you?
We don’t know. There is great competition in the world, so for us we have to stay humble and continue to just continue to improve, and we’ll give ourselves a good chance to win.
What can you say about the team’s chemistry?
The chemistry is getting better and better with each game and each practice. We are taking full advantage of every opportunity we get together. So, you know, it’s looking good right now.
What is the weakness in this team?
We just got to continue to get better, and for us, we want to continue to improve, continue to learn each other each and every day, and we’ll be fine.
They are a great team. They’ve been together for a long time. They have a great chemistry, and they have great inside-outside depth and we look forward to playing against them.
On playing with a team that has so many scorers:
It’s a lot of fun to have so many options. When you push the ball up the court and you see KD (Kevin Durant) spotted up, along with Melo (Anthony), with somebody like Tyson (Chandler) running the court, there’s no better feeling being a point guard.
Is there any competition between you and Deron Williams, trying to show each other up?
No. No, we’ve done this before. We’ve played together for too long. We understand that at the end of the day it’s all about winning a gold medal. We love playing with one another.
On tonight’s game:
Yeah, it was a lot of fun. The energy was great from the crowd and it’s always good to win.
Was there anything you were especially pleased with?
I think we did a great job of sharing the ball. Guys shot and made open shots. Our defense was very steady and we forced a lot of turnovers.
On the USA’s next two games (Argentina and Spain):
It seems like each game the competition progresses a little bit more. We’ve had three great games so far, but we have to keep getting better because we know when we get there and play against Argentina and Spain, they’re going to be great games
Thoughts on the game?
I thought it was a great game from us. We’re just really using this time, these warmup games just to find a rhythm, to find a chemistry. We’ve only been together for a short amount of time, so all these practices, these games, these warmup games are going to do a lot to build up chemistry and build character. We’re really learning a lot about who we are and finding our roles. It was a good won tonight against a tough Great Britain team.
Your views on Anthony Davis’ play tonight?
I just think like Coach said he’s a young player. He’s already a proven player at the college level, and he’s trying to prove his way on with us. His athleticism, his energy level – those things you can’t really teach. What he does with the amount of floor he covers on defense is amazing, and he doesn’t even really know how to play the game yet. Once he figures out that, he definitely can be a scary player, a franchise player. You can tell.
What was the mood of the guys after the Brazil game and how do you think you come away from this performance?
We were happy we won. A win is a win, whether it’s ugly or not. The thing that stuck with us most was that first quarter when we allowed 27 points, which we can’t do if we want to be successful especially against a tough team like that. Getting down 10 points early, then we were fighting up hill. We really took away the last three quarters I think. We played a lot better defensively. We played our game probably a little bit more, got out in transition. We forced a lot of turnovers, and that makes us get easy baskets, and we definitely rely on easy baskets. The mood was good because we won, but at the same time we took a look at the film and we acknowledged we made some mistakes in that game. We’ll use that film and use that game as motivation to get better.
When we throw out terms like “wake up call”, do you guys see it that way?
I don’t think so because we know we can be beaten. If we don’t come to play, if we overlook an opponent, we can be beaten. There are some tough teams out here: Brazil’s one of them, Spain’s one of them, Argentina’s one of them. We’re playing all three of those in warm- up games, and we’re not going to overlook anybody. So, I don’t think it’s a wake up call. I think it’s more we realize we have flaws in our game, and we need to sew those up.
After what you’ve seen tonight of Joel Freeland tonight, how do you think he’s going to get on?
I thought he played well tonight. We got to see the talent develop down in the post, he has great footwork, great touch around the basket and pretty solid defensively. So, as long as he comes in ready to work, he should have no problem adjusting.
You missed some early time in the training. Do you feel back now?
I thought I adjusted pretty well. I was a little worried about my conditioning was going to be because I haven’t played five-on-five, but I trained really hard coming in so I’d be in the best shape possible. I feel like I’m there, I’m good. I’m in great conditioning. My shot is now starting to come along. That rhythm and timing is starting to get down. I don’t think it affected me other than Coach getting on me every day about not practicing. I don’t think it affected me.