Additional Quotes >>USA vs. China Scrimmage
Aug. 14, 2010 • New York, N.Y.
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski
What did you get out of todayís scrimmage?
Today was good, just to play against somebody else and also for our guys to get accustomed to international rules; howís the game officiated; the different tempo that another team uses.† China has played some exhibition games already and obviously they play international basketball.† So I just think we need to play. Overall I thought it was good, again weíre trying out a whole bunch of things.
Was there anything that surprised you today or that you were happy with?
I was happy just with the fact that we played hard; we didnít get down if we were missing some shots; we used our man and zone; we were trying a whole bunch of different combinations so it wasnít like a regular game. And even tomorrowís game against France weíll be trying to do some different things.
Rebounding has been a point of emphasis; weíre you happy with that?
It was fine.† I thought we shared the ball well and we tried to take a look at a bunch of different things. Weíre still evaluating as to whoís going to be going on the final trip. I thought our point guard play by Rondo and Derrick Rose was very good. Their ball pressure, they distributed the ball. I think guys have to learn to play with Derrick as far as keeping the court wide. The wider the court for Derrick the better, heíll get you the ball, you donít have to come and get it, but thatís part of learning to play with one another.
It was fun playing against somebody else.† It was something we were looking forward to. We just want to push each other so we can keep getting better.
~ Lamar Odom
How key is defense and getting transition points?
Well if we can get easy points like that than thatís really good.† Itís not just defense forcing a turnover, itís defense when we get a rebound. Thatís why rebounding is key for not allowing them second †shots and a rebound for us starts a fact break because we do have the athletic ability to do that.
What about Grangerís game today?
Granger is a pro. Dannyís done a good job. Danny in Vegas hurt his knee and was out a day; then here he hurt his finger and was out a day and no excused. Dannyís a key guy for us because when he does shoot the ball you feel itís going in. Heís a bigger guy and he can cover a three definitely and heíll have to cover a four at times.
Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
Coach K emphasizes the importance of winning every quarter. The USA won the first three, but lost the fourth:
I thought they played the fourth quarter really well. We had some lapses in the fourth quarter. The reality of it is, is that over there we have to find ways to fight through it, show coach we can do that. That was a small little blemish in what was a great day.
Are you looking forward to playing France tomorrow?
I am. Itís going to be different competition again. The more experienced competition we have to play against, the better I think weíll be.
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
What do you need to get better?
Itís just a matter of us making sure we knock those shots down. I think we have a great mix on the offensive end. Everybody stuck together, so it was a great win for us.
Can you win the FIBA World Championship with this team?
You never know. We have the confidence that we can and weíve got enough talent to be able to go out there and win. But itís all about us taking it one day at a time and trying to get better each day we step out on the court.
How do you deal with the pressure of being one of the top players out here?
I donít think thereís any pressure at all, Iím used to it. I think the easiest thing here is that if Iím not making shots, thereís another scorer coming off the bench. Thereís another guy just as good coming off the bench. We have a lot of great guys, which makes it easy for me.
What are you hoping to improve upon this summer as a member of this team?
Just continue to get more comfortable with playing a lot of different positions, trying to score in different ways. Defend, †I think Iím doing a better job of that. Just being an all-around player.
Eric Gordon (Los Angeles Clippers)
Do you feel like youíre fighting for a spot?
You can definitely say Iím fighting for a spot and a lot of other people too, but obviously at my position probably and I just got to keep on playing.
Is what you contribute to this team different than what you contribute to the Clippers?
†Yeah, I would say so because you have a lot of guys that can score on this team and itís all about playing together and making shots for me.
Youíre becoming known as a shooter, when you play with L.A. do you try to do more stuff out there?
With the Clippers Iím probably more of an all-around scorer, I try to score in many ways. In this case itís making sure I knock down threes first and get a good basket whenever I can.
What are you guys looking forward to as far as styles of play at the World Championship and how that matches up with you guys?
We definitely want to get it to a fest tempo, up and down, and try and create turnovers for the other teams and just trying to get more shots up than the other team.
You had a good stretch of shooting and making threes:
Yeah, it was just a rhythm within the team and thatís why I was able to run down and get a good couple of shots and hits some threes. When teams are in rhythm a lot of players get in rhythm.
How important is offensive spacing, especially because you have so many guys who can penetrate and kick the ball back out?
Spacing is number one and Iíd say the key for us offensively because we have so many guys that can penetrate and kick and we just have to take advantage of it.
Danny Granger (Indiana Pacers)
How do you feel your chances are of making the team?
Obviously they know I can score the ball. I think whatís more important is that Iím going to rebound, I can play different positions, playing defense better, rotations and what not. Theyíre trying to see that actually from everybody. They know everything weíre good at. Theyíre trying to see what weíre not good at.
You hurt your finger a few days ago, but today it didnít seem to bother you. Are you over the injury?
It still hurts a little bit. The anti-inflammatories helped a lot. When Iím playing Iím trying not to worry about it. It probably hurts a little more when I come off the court, but when Iím playing I try not to think of it.
Did you go out today worried about making the final cut?
I never really was concerned about what I would make it or wouldnít make it. Weíre all playing for the USA. Iím not worried about making the cut, making the team. That wasnít my main motivation. I just played my game and did what I do.
Andre Igoudala (Philadelphia 76ers)
How important is it to make this team?
Itís very important to play for my country, for my team. Iím going to give it my all. Itís important.
Do you think this team can win the FIBA World Championship?
We have a lot of good players. Once we get in a comfort zone, guys get used to playing with each other some more, this can be a really good team.
Lamar Odom (Los Angeles Lakers)
What did you get out of today as a team?
Confidence.† It was fun playing against somebody else.† It was something we were looking forward to. We just want to push each other so we can keep getting better.
What did you do best today as a team?
Defense.† That's what is most important for our team.
What do you need to most work on?
Not to turn it over.† Just defend.† Defense is going to help us win ...especially when a team is just coming together.†† If we have the best defensive team in this tournament, in this competition, then we'll give ourselves a good chance to win.
Rajon Rondo (Boston Celtics)
On his role with the team:
Coack K is talking to me and Chauncey a lot. Chauncey is a veteran, my thing is I might be the youngest guy on the team so itís a different role here but I think I am up to the challenge. I am excited to play with those guys and be a leader here.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
On the team:
"This is like a brotherhood right here. You get to know these guys and you feel comfortable around them so everything is fine"
What is it going to take to succeed?
"Playing together and rebounding the ball. That is our biggest thing, is rebounding.† After we rebound we'll be able to run."
On trying to make this team:†
"I think I can make it. I think I have proved myself a little bit. I still have some proving to do but that's why I love this game because it's not given to you."
How do you think you did tonight?
I think I did alright. I think the difference is winning. We won every game except for the last one. I think we did alright.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
Is the game a lot different internationally?
From the NBA to this, this is a lot different. The game is different, a lot more physical, especially me playing off the ball, itís different.
Is the team starting to gel together on the court?
The first three quarters and a little bit of the fourth we did a good job playing together. Weíre working well together.
With the score reset after each quarter, China really celebrated winning the fourth, despite losing overall. Did you take it seriously?
We have to. Every quarter is a new game. Our coach emphasizes that every quarter is like a game, so you have to win that quarter like itís a game. Unfortunately we didnít win that last one.