Additional Quotes >> USA 100, Spain 78
Thoughts on the game?
We played a great team and I didnít think they shot the ball really well. So we were fortunate about that. Overall, I thought we played extremely well. Carmelo (Anthony) was sensational. I thought his play in the first quarter and second period was the difference in the game because Spain came out and played such great basketball. Carmelo kind of kept us in it and our bench kept us in. We got a really good performance from Kevin Love Ö double-figure rebounds. We shared the ball well in the second half. We were very pleased with the win. We know what an outstanding team Spain is.
Thoughts on the two teams you played here?
Argentina is terrific. They have the spirit and talent of a champion. I admire Argentina. I admire Spain. These two programs are world-class and certainly have a chance to win a gold medal. They have an opportunity to win the gold medal in London just like we do.
Thoughts on Carmelo Anthony?
Heís that stretch 4 and to have the shooting and scoring ability that he has along with the physicality of his game. So, he can play defense on a power forward but a power forward has a difficult time playing defense on him because he can lose you in transition Ö he takes you into untraditional places for that position. Heís been with me since I started and heís been as good as anybody weíve had in that time period.
How did Carmelo and LeBron do defensively against Pau tonight?
I thought they did OK. Pau is a great player. Because of the attention he draws Ö Ibaka is a terrific player but he had an amazing first half because itís difficult to guard Pau one on one. I thought LeBron and Carmelo really tried to front him well but that then gave Ibaka a little more room. Overall it was good.
On Carmeloís versatility:
One thing I would say about Carmelo. LeBron can play all positions but Carmelo can play three of them. Heís as versatile a guy after LeBron that we have. Carmelo has outstanding talents that if heís played at multiple places on the court, he is able to show those talents. Heís as good of a guy as we have on our team.
How is the team progressing?
I think weíve gotten better. I think we need to use pool play first of all to qualify for medal play but also I think to get five more international games under our belt. I thought we reacted better tonight than two nights ago to the international game and we have to keep learning about it.
Thoughts on the game?
Today was one of those games that as a team, as a unit, we really tried to lock in from the start. I think we came out a little bit too focused, a little bit overzealous at the beginning and they jumped on us quick. They came out with a lot of intensity and got a some easy shots, easy baskets. Once we settled down and made a couple plays defensively, got back to our comfort zone, we didnít look back from there.
Carmelo, you once said, ĎI like FIBA basketball better than NBA basketballí Ö is that still the case and if so, why?
I donít like it better than NBA basketball. I play NBA basketball as my career. Thatís my life. But, FIBA basketball allows me to play multiple positions and do a lot of different things out there on the basketball court than in the NBA. Iím in a different position Ö Iím playing 3, Iím playing 4, Iím playing 5. I donít play the 5 back in the NBA where Iím more of a wing, Iím handling the ball a little more in the NBA. Over here, itís more than just playing off of (teammates), doing the dirty work. When the ball comes to you, try to knock down shots, play good defense, rebounding. Most of the time, Iím playing against the 4s and the 5s internationally that are much bigger, much taller. Itís a more physical game in FIBA for me than it is in the NBA.
What do you take from this experience back to your team in New York?
I wonít be playing 5 in New York. This whole experience, every time I come back from playing USA Basketball, my mindset is a lot different. The team and the atmosphere I bring from USA Basketball back to my respective team. My focus on my conditioning that I have Ö just being in shape and carrying that over from USA Basketball into my regular season. Itís like Iím getting and early. In í08 coming off a Gold Medal going into the 2009 season, that was one of my best seasons. Thatís the year we went to the Western Conference Finals. My body felt great, my mind felt great. Thatís something I keep of my mind coming off USA Basketball.
What will be different the next time you play Spain?
They will have Marc (Gasol) back. He makes it a lot more difficult out there on the basketball court. Heís another big body that you add to them Ö nother great passer from the top of the key. He makes everybody better thatís around him. It will be a lot different. Iím pretty sure theyíll watch this game and learn from this game. Weíre not expecting anything different than this game tonight. It will be a hard-fought game. It will be much harder next time in London.
On the Argentina game from Sunday:
One thing about Argentina and we saw it the other night. They do not quit. The other night, we jumped on them early. The game got a little nasty throughout the course of the game. They kept fighting. They never quit. Thatís one thing we rely on when you facing a team like Argentina. Iím pretty sure there one of the favorites out there in London and they going to be there. Someone is going to have to come out there and compete and beat them throughout.
Thoughts on the game?
It was a really good game. They really came out playing extremely well and had us on our heels for a while. We had to make some adjustments.
It seemed you won easily?
It wasnít easy. We finally opened the game up but it was very hard because strategically we didnít know how to attack them defensively and we just had to continue to put pressure, put pressure, put pressure and hopefully get some turnovers and get some easy points.
How is it possible to play without a center?
We have a lot of speed Ö a lot of speed. LeBronís 6-9, Carmeloís 6-9, Durantís 6-10 and weíre fast. When you have that amount of speed, it makes up for it.
How have you enjoyed your trip to Spain?
Itís been a lot of fun, itís been a lot of fun. The game tonight was absolutely incredible Ö all the fans here and all the passion. In the city, everybodyís been great. Itís been a lot of fun.
What about tonight's game?
We started off a little slow, gave them some easy points. I think we did a good job of bouncing back, playing together. We just got it going. It was good for us to go out there and learn ourselves a little bit more and get better as time goes along. It was fun game. We started off slow but we did a great job of fighting back. Everybody played well tonight.
What do you think about Spain in the Olympic Games?
Theyíre pretty good. Marc was missing tonight but theyíre still a great team without him. Once he comes back, heís going to help out a lot. Weíre just looking forward to starting a journey and weíll see where weíre at.
Why did the US start slowly?
They did a good job of slowing it down, running the pick and roll, playing good defense but we figured it out after a while and we were able to get some easy shots. Guys were passing the ball well and we got a good win.
What are the keys for the US to win these games?
We got to continue to play hard on defense, rebound the ball and move the basketball. If we do that, weíll be fine.
Who is the favorite for Olympic Gold at the Olympics?
All Iím concerned about is how weíre going to get better, how weíre going to approach these Games, thatís all Iím worried about. Weíll see what happens at the end.
22 points is a big difference between the main contenders for the Gold and Silver Medals?
Yes, but this is over with now. We have got to leave this in the past and get ready for the next game.
What is your scouting report of LeBron at center how impressive is it that he can play that position in a game like this?
Heís a big strong guy. He can pass so well out of the zone. Heís a weapon in the middle of that zone if they go there, kick out to shooters. We got guys who can do a variety of things on that floor but we all got to play our role and LeBron is doing the world. Heís passing, heís rebounding, heís being asked to defend bigger guys and heís doing a great job. Everybodyís coming out playing hard. Weíre feeding off CPís energy, Kobeís, Russellís, myself, K-Loveís, everybody. Weíre just feeding off each other and thatís whatís making this engine run.
Letís talk about how you turned it around:
We settled down. I think we were playing too fast. We got a lot of easy points and defensively we turned a switch on and got some easy points and the game switched around.
Youíre playing better as a team now?
Our chemistry is getting better with every game, every practice I think. We are running each other and we are figuring each other out. Thatís what makes it feel better.
These guys are a lot bigger and looked like you were struggling early:
Weíre not as big. We have to use our athleticism to run and getting rebounds and weíre so good at transition and LeBron did a great job, Carmelo did a great job, Melo came in and changed the game.
How do you feel the chemistry of this team is going?
We still got time. We still got a couple more days before we actually open up but our chemistry is really good right now; our cohesiveness is improving. Weíll be ready once the games begin.
Is the intensity there for you guys?
Our intensity, we have to play high. Each and every game, we have to play at a high level to win ballgames. Thatís both offensively and defensively. If we do that, weíre a pretty good team.
Have you shown all your cards for the Olympic Tournament?
We havenít shown all our cards yet. We have so many options and so many things we can go to with our team. The best thing about tonight is that we got better but we have room for improvement and we got more cards to show.
Can you talk about your challenge of playing down low?
Itís nothing new for me. I do the same thing in Miami. I take the challenge against a lot of bigger guys, just try to use my approach to the defensive end and just try to help our team win.
Are you focusing more early on the defensive end and then get your offense going In the second half?
Itís whatever it takes for me. I always know I can get my game going offensively so I just tried to focus on the defensive end, try to get some rebounds, try to get some assists and if the guys need me to make some shots, I can do that as well.
Were you interested tonight when Tyson went out to see how the teamís lack of height would play out?
Itís going to happen. Weíre not the tallest team but that doesnít bother us at all. We got a lot of guys that play above their height. Itís not about height. Itís about the determination inside is what gets you there. It was a good test for us tonight but the exhibitions are over, the Ďfriendliesí are over and itís on to the real challenge of going to London.
Was tonight a statement to Spain?
We just wanted to come out and try to play the right way. We wanted to play hard. We knew this was going to be an emotional game for those guys, playing here in Spain. We knew it was going to be a big game and we didnít play too bad.
Does this game mean something looking to London?
No. It doesnít mean anything. Weíre pretty sure at some point weíre going to meet those guys again in London and big Marc will probably play that game too. Itís a good win for us but now the real games begin.he second half, we definitely started rebounding better. Melo got on the boards alone with KD, Bron and Tyson. Us guards talked about it. We have to continue to get in there and rebound also.
WWhat are the areas you need to improve and what areas do you feel youíre ok?
We just have to get better defensively. We have to rebound better and take care of the ball. Weíre a dangerous team when we get out in transition so we got to make sure we give ourselves as many possessions as possible.
Are you worried about the lack of presence close to the rim?
No. We did it fine tonight. Itís by committee. Weíre fortunate enough to have some of our forwards like LeBron and Melo who play bigger than they really are. Weíll be ok?
Whatís it like to share the ball with guys like LeBron, Durant and Kobe?
Itís fun, Itís fun. Itís a point guardís dream to play with that much talent. On my respective NBA team, Iím called on to score at times but with this team, you have so many different weapons and the thing that makes it a lot better is that all of those guys are very unselfish.
Do you feel some thrill going to London?
IOh yeah. There is no greater feeling than representing your country. Doing it on this stage and being around this great group of people is something that you cherish for a lifetime.
Tell me about your personal appearance, how did you feel about today?
It was a good team win, thatís whatís most important, coming together as a team and getting a victory.
Why did it take you so long to get going?
It was a tough team, itís not like weíre playing a bad team. Weíre playing a good team. They have been together for years and know how to play together and you know they were missing Marc Gasol whoís a big piece of their team but they still played well and it took a lot to open the game up.
What sport are you looking forward to seeing at the Olympics?
Thereís a lot I want to see. I want to see tennis, I want to see table tennis and want to take my daughter to see gymnastics; she wants to see that and volleyball
Tell me about the physicality Ė it sounds like you were all able to get up and body them a lot:
We are a smaller team, so we have to be more physical. We have to be aggressive and use it to our advantage because some teams are bigger than us on the inside. If we donít try to disrupt them as much as possible then we are going to have trouble with the bigger teams.
What did you think of Spain?
I thought they played well, especially in the first half. In the second half I think we just came out and played a lot better. They were missing Marc Gasol who is a big part of the team. We know weíll get a different team if we meet them in the Olympics so this was a one-off game. It doesnít mean anything. It was a good win for us but it doesnít mean anything as far as the Olympics are concerned.