Additional Quotes >> USA 109, Argentina 83
London, England Aug. 10, 2012
On the Game:
We are very pleased with our performance tonight against a team that we have great respect for. They are just a championship caliber team with some of the greatest international players of all time, so we have to play really well in order to win. I thought we had our best balance so far. Kobe (Bryant) got us off to a good start. LeBron (James) really turned it on then Kevin (Durant) and Carmelo (Anthony) followed. There was not just one guy and I thought our point guards really did a masterful job. They had 13 assists and zero turnovers. Our offensive rebounding was excellent; we have had 20, 20, and 15 (rebounds) the last three games and I think it starts off with Kevin Love and his performance on offensive boards. LeBron is just doing everything; dirty work, clean work, leadership work and he just turned it up a notch and we all followed there in the second half. Congratulations to Argentina on a really good performance. We kind of started a series with them with three games here in two weeks and obviously we are happy. We are hoping Russell’s injury is not serious. We think it is just a mild ankle sprain and we will know more about that tomorrow.
On Kobe talking about never being on a team with three shooters who can get hot that quick:
We have offensive firepower and we have an unconventional team because when Tyson (Chandler) goes out we really have no centers. We have had to develop; not a system but a style of play that suits those guys. The good thing about these guys is when they see one guy has got it, they go to him. To have the scoring capability that each of them have and then to kind of focus on that one guy when they see he has it is very gratifying to me and tells me what type of guys I have the honor of coaching so far.
On LeBron’s emphatic dunk:
In coaching LeBron, he dunks emphatically. I don’t think it was a once in a lifetime thing, he has done that pretty much in every ballgame. It is kind of a little bit of a statement. Not so much to the other team but to his own teammates, like lets pick it up even more. It is not like our guys were ever playing poorly in this game but his play there kind of picked everything up a little bit. The balls he and Kevin Love were able to keep alive gave us those 3s that you can’t guard, you are just kind of open. When Kevin is hitting his he is yelling for the ball and our guys got it to him.
Did you feel the third quarter was a turning point?
I just thought we started hitting shots. I thought we were playing well in the first half and we had pretty good shots but the tempo of the game was not really fast. Not that it was slow but in the third quarter we got into a really good rhythm and started pushing the ball a little bit more. They don’t really turn the ball over so you hardly ever score on turnovers against them. They turn it over outside of us the least of anybody because they are just good handlers but we just got into a really good rhythm, started hitting shots, and then it was infectious
Can you talk about what you will need to do Sunday versus Spain?
Well we have to watch them again. We played them in an exhibition but Marc (Gasol) didn’t play. I really haven’t watched them like I will tonight. What I do know is that they have one of the type five players in the world on their team in Pau Gasol. I have watched a little bit of the game today and I thought (Jose) Calderon hit huge shots for them, just huge shots. Marc, (Serge)Ibaka, (Felipe)Reyes; those four guys really give them the best rotation of big guys in the tournament. They have a deep bench, Sergio (Scariolo) does a really good job of using his bench and (Sergio) Llull comes off the bench and he is dynamite and he just is such a fiery good player so there a team that definitely could beat us and we respect them and we will prepare really hard and hopefully have a really great game against them.
Do you believe Spain and USA are the two best teams here?
Well we are two remaining teams that can win the gold medal. I think Argentina is a really good team, I think Spain is terrific, and I really like Brazil, France, Russia. I think this has been a heck of a tournament. Australia played us so well. From Beijing to now, I think there are more good teams and the level of play is better. It was good then but it is going to keep getting better.
Was this the perfect build up game?
Well I was really worried about this game like I am all games but the way we played I thought was very mature. I thought we handled everything tonight really well. I am proud of my guys.
Do you think European coaches can come into the US and coach in the NBA or in college?
Most NBA teams have somebody international involved in their programs. The Spurs were probably the leaders of that. The Lakers this past year, Coach Messina was there. He is one of the best and he is just brilliant. One of my former assistants and former players, Quinn Snyder is actually going to work with him this year and I think there is just going to keep being more interaction like that. There is no question that an international Coach can be an NBA head coach. These guys are terrific, there preparation and a lot of the international players are playing in the NBA, so it is not a stretch. Why not have a coach from the international community? Our country respects international basketball unbelievably and I have learned a lot from competing against these guys. There concepts on offense and defense are not used in the United States and they should be. They are very team oriented.
On players getting pigeon holed to a certain position, and his thought that they shouldn’t be:
This team is a good example of that. The guys seem to like it. LeBron was the second big at one point today but he was guarding (Manu) Ginobili. You can use Deron (Williams) and Chris (Paul) together. You come up with some different lineups and because they are pretty strong they are able to handle the big guys. We will have a different challenge against Spain because the two Gasols are very big but they will have a challenge with us too. I have loved coaching this style with the guys and hopefully we can do well one more game.
Is size the biggest concern versus Spain?
Yes, size and experience. They have played together a long time with Calderon, (Rudy) Fernandez, and (Juan Carlos) Navarro. Those guys have won so many games on the perimeter and I think Reyes is an undervalued guy. He is such a good offensive rebounder and stable player, he is just so good. With the addition of Ibaka we need to hold our own on the boards against them and play good inside defense.
How did you deal with Andre Igoudala being traded?
I talked to Andre around 1 o’clock today at our meeting and he said he was fine. He said he likes playing with Andre Miller because it is a fast style. Kobe is going to be fine no matter what and he should be really fine. Just imagine walking on the court and you have Pau and Dwight (Howard) doing layups, it is not a bad team to start out with. They handled it professionally they are here to represent their country and they have done that great on and off the court and we need to do that through the 3 o’clock game on Sunday.
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Is this the most focused the team has been in the tournament:
From the beginning of the game we were locked up. There were times we felt we were doing things we shouldn’t have been doing on the basketball court then we look up at halftime and they only had 40 points. We kind of thought we did a decent job on the defensive end. The third quarter we opened the game up, we made shots and we got ahead.
What is it like to play on the team with so many weapons?
Anybody on this team can get going at any point and that it’s the fun and dangerous part of this team. You never know who is going to get it going. Kobe started it then Durant played extremely well and I got hot out there too. You never know what is going to happen with the scoring.
Was there any doubt you would be in this position?
Anything less than this would not have been satisfying. We believed that we can get there and we are here now and we have one game left.
On the Olympic experience:
This experience has been great. You never know what could happen after this. It might be our last one, for some of us you don’t know. We just wanted to enjoy this experience and anytime you can win and enjoy it at the same time it is double the pleasure.
Will you be prepared for Spain on Sunday?
We will be prepared for them come Sunday. I can’t really tell you what we are going to do but we will be prepared for them.
Is it fitting that you get to play Spain again in the Gold Medal game?
Besides us we felt like they were the best team in the tournament, so why not go up against another great team and see what happens.
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
Your thoughts on the game tonight? You guys had a pretty solid effort all around, I thought.
We did a great job. We were very patient. We wore them down. We blitzed them when we had the opportunity.
Is it amazing to you how sometimes this team, and it’s even different than the ’08 team, you can just sort of get on a roll with the 3-point shooting?
Well, we have guys on this team that can get blistering hot. They get hot quick. Me, KD and Melo knocked down two shots each and all of a sudden the floodgates opened. It feels like we can’t miss and it just seems like it happens instantaneously.
What about this being your second Olympics and the second time you’ve gotten to the gold medal game, what are your thoughts on that?
Well, we’re excited. It’s been a long journey from Vegas until now. We face our nemesis here in Spain, so, it’s exciting.
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the game:
I think we did a good job starting off with a lot of intensity on defense and moving the ball on offense. We knew this team was going to fight all game and make it tough on us but we did a really good job of responding when they made few runs and our defense was good. We were getting deflections and steals and able to get some easy points. When you have guys that can penetrate and pass the ball like we do all you have to do is make shots. In the second half guys were looking for me and Carmelo and we were there to hit some 3’s and bust the game wide open and we are going to get ready for a tough game on Sunday.
Do you intend to play at the next Olympics in Rio?
Well I am ready to play on Sunday and that is all I am worried about. We will see what happens after this but I am ready to play on Sunday. If they want me to play in Rio and if I am healthy enough to play then I will be there, but right now I am just trying to focus on the next game.
What does it feel like to be on a team with so many scorers that can get hot so quickly?
It is exciting to be a teammate and watching a guy catch fire like Melo a few times. LeBron is the same way, he catches fire going to the rim, getting dunks, and making passes. You can always catch fire by making shots but you can do a lot of different things on the floor that we all appreciate. Kobe last game, Melo this game and it is fun to watch. It is really cool to see everyone on the bench getting up and cheering for them .We need to continue to do that because we have one more game.
What do you think will be the key factors to the gold medal game?
We have to be really good with our interior defense and rebound the ball. I think we have a lot of guys that can get in there to rebound and mix it up. We have to continue to get deflections and steals and using are length and quickness. Those guys are low down there so we need to help each other out but we also have to get out to the shooters as well and I think we can do that. It should be a fun game.
How hard is it to bring you guys together to build one teams?
That one guy that you name whether it is LeBron, Melo, Kobe, or myself; we are not averaging what we would with our teams. I think guys are coming out and sacrificing shots and minutes and giving opportunities for the betterment of the team. You have seen it the last seven games. We have been passing balls very well and nobody has an ego. You don’t see anyone come to the bench mad because they didn’t get a shot or mad because someone may have missed them for a shot. Guys don’t care, whoever shoots the ball if it goes in we are going to clap for them and get back on defense. We are not really worried with what people say as far as being a team. I think we are a really tight team.
Does this have the same feeling as an NBA Finals?
Yes because this is a game seven. It is going to be tough. We know it’s on the line and guys are ready to play. Spain is going to be a tough opponent. They are going to come out and give us our best shot. We have our work cut out for us, we like a challenge and guys are going to come out and play hard for our country.
What do you do to stay calm during an intense stretch of games here at the Olympics?
He (Coach K) keeps us calm. We come back to the bench and we might have a bad stretch where we give up seven or eight points in a row. He comes to the bench and keeps us calm. That is what we need from our coach. He is the coolest guy in the word and he is going to make sure we are ready. We all respect him and we look forward to going out and playing as hard as we can for him. It is another game (On Sunday) and we just have to get prepared and then we give ourselves a chance.
Andre Iguodala (Denver Nuggets)
What is a normal day like for this team?
We wake up, have breakfast, go to a team meeting and then have practice and prepare for the next team we’re going to compete against.
How much did you block out the events of today’s NBA trade?
You go out and try to focus on the task at hand, but you’re going to get questions from your family or you guys (the media) and you try to be as professional as possible. Like I said, the next hurdle for me is to try to help our team (beat Spain).
People have talked about you potentially being traded for a long time.
Exactly, so you kind of become immune to it. It’s part of the game of basketball. Rumors are just part of the game.
Did the trade or the destination of the trade surprise you?
With the way our game is now, you’re not surprised by anything. You have to expect the unexpected. I don’t have any words because as I said, I’m just focused on representing my country and trying to win the gold medal.
What did you think of this game tonight?
It was a great game. In the first half, we hit them early. We came out aggressive, but they’re a feisty group so they got back into the game. They hit a big shot going into the half. In that third quarter, Kevin Durant really got it going, got his looks, and Carmelo Anthony, you say his name and you know what else happened.
Do you have any feelings today after the trade? Happy or sad?
I’m happy to be in the NBA, happy to have a job. It’s a blessing. Only 400 guys have the opportunity to play in the NBA and I’m wanted by some of those teams. And I’m wearing this jersey, so, I’m happy. I wouldn’t care if I was playing in Alaska if they had a basketball team.
It seems like Denver is a good fit for you with the fast-paced tempo.
I think that’s the reason I’m on this team. I can fit in anywhere and make things happen. I’m going to continue to try to do that.
How does it feel to be in this spot (heading into the gold medal game)?
It’s just a great feeling. Where we’ve done a good job is not getting too anxious to get to this game, to not overlook anyone. We’ve had a few games where teams have played us really well, and we’ve overcome some obstacles and we’ve continued to get better and work on our weaknesses, some would say, and make those into our strengths.
Inaudible (presumably a question about how he will remember his time in Philadelphia)
I feel great. I’m here right now, and part of the reason is because I played great basketball in Philadelphia.
You had the ball in your hands and were a big reason for the positive turnaround in Philadelphia. Do you feel good about that?
If you won the final (gold medal), how would you celebrate that?
I don’t know. I’d let the moment just happen and just enjoy it as it comes, but really I’m just trying to focus on the game plan and just be ready in any capacity to help the team win the game.
Lebron James (Miami Heat)
Is this just another example of how much scoring firepower you guys have?
It’s a common goal for us we want to defend and we want to move the ball offensively and get a good shot, and we feel like we did that tonight.
What is it like to have so many different weapons to be able to go to?
It’s a luxury to have. I think the best part about it is we have 12 unselfish guys that are willing to commit, to move the ball, to look for the open shooter. If we do that, we’re a really good team.
You, personally, were attacking the basket a lot. Do you think that helps to set up the open threes?
I hope so. I told you guys, I’m not a 3-point shooter. I don’t shoot many jumpers, so, I’m the kind of guy who wants to break the defense down, get some easy layups, get some offensive rebounds and do all of that interior work, and let our outside shooters control the outside.
Do you think the big dunk you had on (Carlos) Delfino was inspiring to your teammates?
I hope so. I hope so. I try to make plays to inspire our team both offensively and defensively. I hope that was a play that helped start the rally.
Was the physical play that happened on Monday talked about at all by you guys?
We knew this was going to be a physical game. This was a great team that we were going against. They’ve been together for so many years. They’re coached really well. They’ve got so many great players. We knew what type of game it was going to be and what type of atmosphere it was going to be, as well.
What did you think about the Dwight Howard trade?
I don’t have a thought right now. My only mindset right now is going against Spain and I’m worried about that.
LeBron, with different guys leading the offensive scoring each quarter, how would you (as an opposing coach) defend your team?
Let’s just say I’m happy I don’t have to coach against us.
Luis Scola was active inside, but you guys seemed more active.
He’s a great player, especially with those guys because they know him and he knows them. They know the system so well. You just try to keep a body in front of him. He has so many moves in the low post that you try to give him no space, try to beat him to the spot, cut off his angles, and not allow him to get his shot up, which he did he still had a heck of a game, but we just want to keep a body on him and make him work for everything.
What is it going to be like to face Spain again in the gold medal game?
I think it’s only right. Everyone has said that this is the game they want to see, so, we look forward to it. We’re happy, as a team, to be able to be back in this position.
How are you going to play against them?
Our same game. We have to defend. We have to rebound. We have to share the ball offensively.
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
What do you think about the Lakers acquiring Dwight Howard?
They’re going to be a very big team with them getting (Steve) Nash and Dwight. They’ll be a tough team.
Did it surprise you at all?
No. Dwight had been saying that he wanted to get out from Orlando, so I knew it would be one of the big market teams.
Did you watch the (gold medal) game in Beijing?
Yes, I watched the entire thing.
What did you take away from it?
Spain is a very good team. They’re very well coached. They really move the ball. Any player on their team can really light up the scoreboard. They’re just an unselfish team that really locks up and loves to play in big games, so we’re going to get their best.
Have you seen or talked to Ricky Rubio?
No, not since we’ve been here. We’ve been pretty much locked down the last week, pretty much. I think we’ll be locked down tomorrow and then we’ll have a pretty big game at 3:00 for us on Sunday.
With the size of Spain, do you figure you’re going to factor pretty big in the game plan?
I think so. I think I’ve definitely worked my way into significant minutes and I think I’ll play a large amount because we definitely need to play our size against them and take advantage of different factors.
Were you worried coming into the Olympics how many minutes or what kind of role you would play?
I was never worried. It’s definitely an honor to be a part of Team USA and play for Coach K and be a part of this team. I’ve been a part of their grassroots program for a while, so I’ve always felt good about being part of Team USA.
When did you feel comfortable?
I felt comfortable the whole time. We talked about opportunity and Coach K told me he would give me one and eventually when we got to Spain and played against a good Spain team, I got that opportunity.
This seems to be a team that can go on spurts and score the basketball in bunches.
Yea, we’re a team that you have to guard every single player out there on the floor. We have great spacing and guys that love to drive and kick, whether it’s CP, Deron, Russell or LeBron out there always looking for guys, and then we have guys out there like Kevin Durant, Carmelo Anthony and Kobe Bryant that can really hit shots. But really, 1 through 12, we have guys that can play multiple positions and do good things for us.
What did you think of the Dwight Howard trade?
It is what it is. You knew it was going to happen sooner or later. He (Dwight) is definitely athletic. They (the Lakers) lost a dominant big man but got another one.
Have you thought about it at all, that your trade got vetoed last year?
Not at all. I’m excited about playing this gold medal game. I’ve been talking to DeAndre Jordan, Blake Griffin, Chauncey (Billups) and those guys, and I can’t wait to get back. I can’t wait to get back and worry about my team. We’ve got a brand new team. We’ve got to get the camaraderie right with our team. I can’t worry about anybody else.
Was there any surprise that Commissioner Stern didn’t veto the Dwight Howard trade?
Not from where I’m at.
Is this team better at working together and going to whoever is hot than it was in 2008?
We have so many weapons. This isn’t like an NBA team where each guy comes down and says, here, take the ball and go one-on-one. When guys have open shots, they shoot them. But we have the peace of mind to know that if a guy hits four open threes in a row, we know how to get him the ball.
How much has the Dwight Howard trade been talked about today amongst you guys?
Not much. You’ve got to play the games. You’ve got to play the games.
Can you talk about playing Argentina three times in a two-week span?
Three times in fifteen days, it’s tough. I think we showed a lot of grit and awareness among our team to come out and handle our business and not take them lightly, and do what we came here to do.
You’ve got Spain in the gold medal game. What’s that going to be like?
Fun. Fun. A lot of intensity. They always bring an exciting crowd. I’m sure we’re going to have an exciting crowd. So, everybody should stay tuned for Sunday.
Deron Williams (Brooklyn Nets)
On Team USA’s approach
We just need to play our game. We need to pressure them, make things hard for them on the defensive end, and just play our game. We’ve been locked in for the whole tournament. We had one slip-up against Lithuania, but pretty much every other game, we’ve played our game and executed our game plan. Tonight, I think we played our best basketball and we have to play similar to beat Spain.
The Swedish handball team said it would be an honor to celebrate with you guys if you win the gold medal. What would it take for them to garner an invite?
(Laughs) They’re definitely invited. I want to play handball, it looks like an exciting sport.
Getting back into the gold medal game against Spain, are you feeling a little deja-vu?
Definitely. This is what everyone expected, I think, a Spain-USA final. And it’s here, and we’re excited about it. We didn’t get a full Spain team last game, and we know they’ve got Marc Gasol healthy now, so, we’ll get their real team. We’re locked in and looking forward to the challenge and ready to go.