Additional Quotes >> USA 123, U.S. Virgin Islands 59
August 21, 2007 ï¿½ Las Vegas, Nevada
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski
I was pleased, obviously. The focus of our team (when) you get a big lead like that and score 42 points in the first quarter and (are up big at) halftime. We have a day off tomorrow. I thought our guys in the second half came out and we got a lot of work on our zone, so just to anticipate one of your questions as 'What do you get out of a game like that?' ï¿½ One, you get a win. Two, you get to see if your team would be focused throughout. Three, for us, we got a good chance to work on our zone defense which we did a really good job with and (we) stayed out of foul trouble. So, you do get something out of a big win. The score is irrelevant if you can maintain focus for the full 40 minutes and I thought our guys did.
Michael Redd went out there and got you guys 15 points right away. Talk about Redd from the perimeter and what he has been able to give you.
Michael's a veteran, terrific player. He's in great shape and he's ready to come in at any time. Most shooters need to find a rhythm or whatever, but he's ready right away. And he knows he is (substituting) for Kobe (Bryant). He could play with Kobe too, so that gets him ready. He knows more about when he might get in the game. He's earned that. Michael's a key guy for us and that is something we did not have last year on our team. By the way, he's one of the few guys that I've seen in coaching in over 30 years where guys are just so happy that he is shooting the ball. Everybody on our team, we have great scorers on our team, they're all happy when he shoots the ball. That's a good environment.
You had five guys score in double figures, and two guys who didn't were Kobe and LeBron. Can you talk about the depth of the team. Also, Michael people have been clamoring you since 2004, now that you are here, can you talk about that experience?
Well, we have great depth. Our guys are only concerned about one score, the score on the scoreboard. You have two of the great players in the world in Kobe and LeBron and they're fine. They're fine. LeBron is more of a pass first player anyway. You put he and Jason Kidd out on the court and you almost have two point guards, which is why our break is so good.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Talk about the defensive effort your team had tonight?
Yeah, another day another game we wanted to be aggressive from the jump. We did a good job getting into the passing lanes and getting off to a good start. My shot was falling and Michael Redd came off the bench and gave us a jump start and we fed off that.
When you guys are hitting three's are you beatable?
I don't think so, especially when we space the court like that so everybody is making three's from the point guard to the shooter. It just opens thing up for everybody.
Does it bother you guys when people say you can't make that shot, that the Americans can't make that shot?
Yeah, we just want to go out there and prove everybody wrong. That's our main goal and the only way we can do that is to win basketball games.
Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
You are playing against the best players in the world, not just your teammates how is it with all these all stars coming together as a team?
You know what it is, you get a lot of great players together. Everybody sacrifices some of their talents all for one goal. With so many great players you can trust that whoever has the ball that they are going to make the right play
Sharing the time, no problem?
No, no this is something like I said just to be proud of where we are from, the U.S. We don't get paid to do it or nothing like that so it's all just the heat of competition and have fun.
What does it take to correct the problem from the past from losing to winning?
I think we are on the right path right now just with consistency right now with us continuing to play great defense, offensively we can score anytime with the weapons that we have and us playing tough defense is the key.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Talk about the win and the flow of the game:
It was a great defensive effort again tonight. We did a good job taking them out of what they wanted to do. And we can keep trying to improve on that.
Have you guys practiced the zone quite a bit?
We did a good job moving around. Again, it's about contesting shots when they take them and out of the zone the most important thing is rebounding the ball and we did a good job at that.
Does the game plan change when the opponent comes in as a different team?
You alter it every once and a while, you switch it up, make some adjustments. We got guys that are scoring champs and they came in. Offense is not really an issue. I think defense is what we really try to focus on and coach does a great job of telling us his strategy and we go out there and execute.
How is it playing with LeBron and Carmelo and the bunch?
Easy, easy, it's hard to break a sweat.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Have you noticed a difference between last summer in this, as far as toughness of our play, being physical and able to take the game to somebody else as opposed to having it dictated?
Yeah, that's what we're doing now- dictating how the game is going to play. We're coming out aggressive and trying to get all the blocks, rebounds and steals that we can and at the same time be physical on defense. I think we're doing a great job with that.
Regarding Jason, Chauncey and Deron.
They're big guards and they pass the ball well. They control the court and they're just good point guards.
What about Jason? He touches the ball all the time, doesn't necessarily shoot, but playing with a guy like that-
Absolutely. He's one of the best point guards I've ever seen in my life. He's just a great guy and the list just goes on of stuff he can do on the court. He's a great person- always talking and someone who can pick you up when you're down. Just a great person
Have you noticed a difference in your perception just from having participated in USA basketball?
It's commitment that these players have. We could be at home watching it on TV, but instead, we gave up or summer not just to do something for the USA, but for the world. We just go out there every night and try to play as best we can. Like I said, we could be at home eating snacks all day but we're here playing the hardest we can for America.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
What do you think was the biggest improvement from yesterday's game to today?
Just that we were able to sustain our effort tonight. There were a couple of possessions last night were we didn't continue to play as hard as we could. Today we continued the same effort through out the entire game and it showed on the scoreboard.
Do you think every great player should have this on his resume?
Absolutely. Playing for your country just means a lot. You look at how our troops protect us and what they do. It's so much bigger than what we do as a basketball team. I think for me, as an individual, this is important. Representing your country, a lot of kids look up to us. They only see certain parts of the Cleveland Cavaliers, but they see the whole thing with the USA.
Do you feel you earn yourself a certain amount of goodwill by putting yourself out there?
I'm not sure. I don't do it by looking at it like I'm making a sacrifice and hopefully I get some goodwill out of it. That's not me, that's not my thing. I'm here to have fun and to represent the United States of America.
Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
It looks like you are having some fun out there:
I think we are having fun, but the biggest thing is that we are getting better each time we take the floor. Nothing against our opponent, but we want to get better each time we play and the last two days we have done that.
Do you look forward to playing Brazil?
We still need to worry about Saturday and Canada. We have a day off tomorrow to rest up before Canada before we play Brazil and we are taking it one game at a time.
Mike Miller, Memphis Grizzlies
Thoughts on Game:
Our defense set the tempo again. When our defense does that, our offense is pretty good. So, we're just focusing on our defense and hopefully everything will take over from there.
What the team has done best so far:
Defensively. We've got into people, talked defensively. And anytime we do that defensively, we're good offensively.
Looking forward to the day off or wish you were playing:
The day off will be good. We'll get some shots up and then get ready for Saturday.
On playing Canada:
They are going to play tough. They are going to play hard. They're hard-nosed, and we're going to have to match their intensity.
On the shooters on the team:
We are shooting pretty well right now. We got to continue to get better. We're missing some shots that we normally make. We just got to continue to focus on it and continue to work and keep shooting.
Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
Can you talk about the change in the physicality of the international game?
I think the main difference as far as setting screens and stuff like that they aren't really calling those type of things so it
gives us an opportunity to free up our shooters better and be able to run our plays to a T. I think that is the most obvious thing that you can recognize.
Do you relish the thought of being as physical as you need to be as opposed to being so careful in the NBA?
No doubt about it when you play in the league it's so touchy so to translate it to this game it's a tough situation because we don't play like this all the time. I think once w e get a feel for how a team is playing against us it kind of warms us up to what we need to do even though we have been starting out the gate right away with aggressive defense. I think the defensive side is what's important in these international games
Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
Michael, under ordinary circumstances, you don't have to wait to get your rhythm going as you're out there from the beginning. Is there any trick to this (coming off the bench)?
First of all, I want to thank Coach Krzyzewski for his vote of confidence. We had a conversation a couple of days ago and he really told me what he expected of me and to be ready at all times. He said, 'When you get out there, just go play basketball.' That was the vote of confidence I needed for this team. You know what, it's a different role to come off the bench, but at the same time, I've been here before, having backed up Ray Allen my first couple of years in the NBA and coming off the bench expected to score immediately. That was my role five or six years ago and this is back to that, so I just have to be professional and be ready to go.
I know you had some big games early in the season, possibly even a 50-point game, but have you ever had a stretch like that with 15 points in five minutes?
Yea, I think so. (Laughs). You know what, it's a blessing. I'm so grateful just to be on this team. We have great, terrific players on this team. Usually I'm shooting over two or three hands during the season and now I'm getting wide open looks, which is beautiful.
For the vote of confidence, did you need that vote of confidence?
It's just always good to get encouragement from your coaching staff. I do what I do, which is just to go out there and play basketball most of the time. It's just always good to get encouragement. As the tournament got closer, he (Coach K) just basically broke down what my role was on this team. He said 'Don't make mistakes, just go play.'
Coach K: We're trying not to assume that these guys know their roles. You still talk to them. Every one of our players is making a sacrifice because their role on their own team to here is different.
Michael people have been clamoring for you since 2004, now that you are here, can you talk about that experience?
It was humbling to hear that people were wanting me on the team, but I felt we had a good enough team anyway without me being here. It was an honor to be named to the team last year. I'm really grateful even now. It is humbling to be on the greatest stage in the world, the Olympic stage and to be on the best team in the world, in my opinion ï¿½ it's a humbling experience.
Amarï¿½ Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
If you went back to '04 and said there was one thing the US has to have, what would it have been?
Back in '04? Probably just the intensity on the defensive end. I think with this team here, we're so focused on the defensive end that we're scoring easily offensively. Also experience, experience plays a big role as well.
Is that just from getting a chance to play internationally? You guys have learned?
Yeah I think so. When a get a chance to play, and play with the smarter players, it definitely raises your experience and it raises your IQ for the game.
Where is this team with two games right now- is it as expected or is there still stuff you guys want to work on?
There's always room for improvement, and we know that. What we do now is watch the game film and improve on what we didn't do in the game before.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
Thoughts on Game:
It was a great game. Starters came out and did a good job of setting the tone for the night. Pretty much took them out of the game from the start. From there, we just came in and tried to back them up and make sure the lead didn't get down. We just worked on our game. That's the main thing. Trying to tune up for what awaits us.
The Shooting in the First Quarter:
We're such a good passing team. Everybody one through five on our team can pass when they get in. Guys like Mike Redd and Mike Miller come in and hit shots like that, it's hard to beat us.
On the Unselfishness of the Team:
The guys we got on this team are not selfish guys. That's part of what Mr. Colangelo and the rest of the staff and Coach K wanted was a group of guys that they knew were going to be unselfish and going to work together and play together. I think they are showing it tonight, especially on the defensive end; that's where we are working the hardest.