Additional Quotes >> USA 113, Canada 63
August 25, 2007 ï¿½ Las Vegas, Nevada
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski
On today's game:
Obviously, we're very pleased. We had a day off and (inaudible), and you wonder just what the focus will be a little bit, but our guys have been so good and are continuing to play well. The other thing is, we're playing Canada and it is their fourth straight game, so they are worn out a little bit. And the way they played defense wears you out even more. I'm proud of our guys. Everyone played hard. We're getting better as the tournament goes along.
Can you talk about the importance of your second unit getting quality minutes by virtue of building such big leads early on.
It's huge. Just take Tyson (Chandler). He is playing between two All-NBA players. Dwight (Howard) and Amarï¿½ (Stoudemire) are two of the top 10 players in the NBA. So he understands that, and when he gets eight or nine minutes straight, he stays in shape. I don't like to call them our second unit, because each of them has a role. To get them that many minutes, we all stay in shape and we don't get over-tired. We save our legs but everyone gets good wind and actually at the end of the first quarter, we were trying to substitute and I thought we got a little bit winded for the first time. Then we got our second wind.
I think they (our players) are in true basketball shape. I think these guys have done a great job of that, but the way we've been substituting, they're accustomed to not pacing themselves at all. In other words, instead of running a mile, they're running a 100-yard dash and so you're going to get a little bit more winded, but I wouldn't call that being out of shape. Our guys are in very, very good shape.
How much does it matter that guys like Chauncey Billups and Tayshaun Prince have NBA championship victories on their resumes?
Huge. Huge. You look at all those veterans - that's why like the fourth quarter, where we were way ahead, was run like a game. You had Deron Williams, who while he isn't a veteran, (he) is a top notch guard. Then you had Tayshaun and Michael (Redd) and Mike Miller. They've done it in a professional manner. Dwight has been, for me, in the last year - he has just taken a huge (step). He's on the verge of becoming an amazing player. I'm very proud of the way he is playing. He gives us a presence that nobody else has.
A number of times on our first three games, we've tried some different things. Against some of the bigger teams, instead of having Tayshaun come in for Carmelo, we may keep Dwight in there and have Amarï¿½ come in for Carmelo or vise-versa. I don't want to get into the mindset of 'He's just coming in for that person.'
Does Canada remind you at all of Brazil?
This team that we played today runs a system and we kind of took them out of it. Brazil does that too (runs a similar system), but they have arguably as good a player as there is in the tournament in Leandro Barbosa. We understand that they are a top-flight team and we respect them.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Talk about the balance story again. I mean, you had seven players in double figures today.
Coming out there, we got a lot of people that put the ball in the hole. Tonight we showed
that again. On any given night, anybody can be the lead scorer in the game.
From what I see you are little bit more physical than you were in the past USA teams. Have you worked on that?
That has always been my goal. I think I pretty much know the game now. I know the international game. I know the rules, how physical I can be and what I can and what I can't do.
Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
A couple of years ago people said why don't you send the entire Pistons team, did you ever hear that?
Yeah, I did. I think one of the main reasons why is because one we play great defense and two we are already a cohesive unit and we have played against a lot of teams that have played together for a long time. Like a San Antonio.
Is there a different mentality about playing for the Pistons and playing for this team?
When you get up by so much sometimes and you stop playing so hard and start lollygagging you can lull yourself into a bad situation and it's tough to turn it off and turn it on. Our team, we want to keep it on all the time and not embarrass anybody and play with a lot of respect and dignity and at the same time do what we do.
Does coach K or anybody else tell you that you have to get beyond being the most talented team?
Yeah, no doubt. It's not about who we have or what we've done in 1992 or the past, we have to cease this opportunity to regain our confidence here. Because I fell like we have the best players and we have had some tough time sin the past few competitions.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
You are so into this that you forgot about your birthday?
No, no I am really passionate about this stuff.
Did you like stay and work out instead of celebrating?
No man I just spent some time with the family. You don't have much time with the family because we are always ripping and running just kicking back in the room chilling with my girls.
Several players here carry a tremendous burden during the season. So obviously this is different?
Yeah, it's different because you get to focus on a particular area of your game and how you can get better and improve the team so the roles that we have during the season when we go back to the team are different here so you figure out where you can help the most and you do that.
Does it feel like the pressure is less?
Yea well the pressure is I wouldn't say less because you are playing for your country and it's a brand new stage there's more at stake, but it is a good pressure because you have so many other guys to share that pressure with so it's a little better.
Is it just the fact that you have to assume the burden of winning or losing?
Yea, it's different you get the chance to just fun you don't have to worry about anything else just have to go out and play and have fun and marvel at some of the spectacular plays that these guys make.
Do they try to keep you guys in the same units?
Yea, we work together in units so that we build unity and chemistry.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
Dwight, can you talk about the second quarter where Canada scored only two field goals?
Oh yeah, we really pride ourselves on defense. We know we can score at any time but we really have to focus in on defense. When we play the great teams we're going to have to buckle down and play defense, and we're doing that. Everybody's talking. Everybody's rotating. We're playing hard.
Our main job is to clog up the paint. We know our roles - dominate the boards, block shots, play great defense. We're just trying to win the games and (we'll) do whatever it takes.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Did you feel good out there on the court today?
Being an early game, I knew some of our energy could have been low, guys so used to playing later at night. I wanted to turn it up a little bit. Got my second wind in the second half, gave us a lot of energy.
What do you think of this tournament format? Is there a reason to have another round robin next week?
We are very excited about what's going on. Right now we're all confident and sky high. So we can play a lot of games, you know, that's fine with our guys. We need to take care of our bodies and get ready to play.
Does it help that you guys are so much deeper than most other teams?
Definitely. Not even deeper but we got a lot of guys that can do a lot of different things. We got guys that can shoot the ball, penetrate, rebound; do it all. All of it clicks together defensively.
Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
Thoughts on Game:
We got off to a slow start defensively and they made some tough shots early. But that second group really got going, Mike Redd, Mike Miller. And from that point, in the second quarter, we held them to 13 points. And we went from there.
On Michael Redd's shooting:
That's why he's on the team. He's been shooting the ball extremely well. He's a great guy, a great teammate. He extends the zone and he knocks down open shots and that's what you need when you play international ball because there is always going to be somebody open. And he's been doing that for us.
On Defense as the key to the USA team:
We rely on our defense. As much as we have guys who are great scorers and great shooters, we want to show we can play defense and stop people and slow people down. We did that for three quarters tonight and tomorrow, we are going to have our hands full with Brazil so we're going to have to play a lot better.
On playing Brazil:
They are a physical team. They like to get up and down the court. They want to play an uptempo game. And they have some guys who can play. So with Barbosa and Nene, those guys are going to be probably excited. So, we just have to come out and continue to build on what we have started for the last two weeks and just play our game and make them make the adjustments to us.
Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
Thoughts on Game:
I think the day game kind of bothered us a little bit; I think from the start as far as the guys getting out of the gate early. But, Canada at the same time, they knocked down some early shots from the outside. But we didn't have a problem scoring. I think, defensively, we got off to a slow start. Early second quarter, we picked it up from the first five, six minutes and that kind of dictated the game from there.
On the Defense:
Of course, the coaches are going to emphasize on the defensive end because the tougher and more physical you are on the defensive end, you can get out and get easy opportunities and offense will come to you more fluidly. If you look at the guys in our lineup, Kobe, Jason Kidd, LeBron, those guys are active defensively. You got Dwight Howard who mans the paint. Carmelo is doing a great job of getting on the boards. So when you got all five guys doing something different and also being aggressive on the defensive end, and then you have guys like myself and Chauncey, Stoudemire who blocks shots, coming off the bench and trying to pick up the defense. And then we got some shooters like Michael Redd and Mike Miller in the second group so that kind of helps us and then Tyson is out there blocking shots as well and Deron Williams pushing the ball. So the defense is working great and giving us opportunities to get up the court.
On the USA Basketball experience:
For one, I knew Jason was a great floor leader. Obviously, I haven't had an opportunity to play with him. Once I got to the USA team, I had an opportunity to play with him and you can just see how amazing of a passer he is and he thinks ahead of time. Obviously, I knew that about LeBron, playing against him so much as well. I knew what these guys were capable of doing and obviously, it's an opportunity to play with these guys and then the coaching staff is doing a great job of rotating guys in and having guys fit together. It's been an unbelievable experience.
On playing Brazil:
Our mind-set is that we have to establish ourselves defensively once again. Nene is tough inside, one of the strongest players in our league. We're going to have our work cut out with him. And also Leandro whose a great ball hander and his speed is terrific. We'll have some great opportunities to try to get the ball out of his hands a little bit. It's going to start with our defense. I think most importantly we got to worry about us. If we worry about what we have to do, we should be fine.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
In the second quarter you had a 19-0 run and defensively you guys are really looking strong. What do you think about that?
I think it was great basketball today. We really did a great job defensively, like you said. We knew this was a big game coming off a day of break and we knew Canada would be ready to play basketball and so we just wanted to come out with a little more energy in the second quarter, especially.
You guys have been phenomenal with jump shots and tomorrow you are playing Brazil who has a lot of big guys. Let's talk about the challenge of going up against Brazil how much it may be on you guys to get more shots tomorrow.
You know we're going to play our game. I think Coach K said it all about what we do how we play so we know tomorrow will be a tough match with Brazil. As long as we come with the same basketball we played today, we'll be fine.
Right now it seems like you guys are waltzing away with these games.
It's a challenge every game because teams are getting better here of course. We're the big team in the tournament, supposedly, and they want to knock us off so we need to be prepared and be hungry every day and if not, that could be the day we lose.
Amarï¿½ Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
Talk about today and how the game went?
I thought today was not too bad our goal was to win and we did that.
Talk about your role here on this team amongst all the Alpha dogs?
Well we have a bunch of all stars on the team players that are stars on their own teams and here it's just a matter of coming together. It's not a problem at all we always get along and we have goals and we are ready for them.
Are you getting use to the different lane?
It is just taking a little practice to get used to the court and the different rules, but it looks like every game I am getting better.
CANADA HEAD COACH - LEO RAUTINS
Can you talk about four games in four days and how tired was this team. What can you do in a game like that with a second quarter with defense like that?
You have to handle adversity a little bit better. We knew going in this game that the United States has been dominating their opponent in the first quarter, we said 'we can't loose the game in the first quarter' and we didn't. We came out and I thought we could have played better but we were in a good game in the first quarter. But then we just kind of broke down and got away from some of the stuff we were doing. A lot of credit to the United States, they are a very, very talented team, they are extremely well coached, which is a credit to them.
We kind of hurt ourselves as much as what they did to us in the second quarter. All you want to do is learn. This is our seventh game together as a team. If anything you want to say we're going to the next round, the exhibition season is over and now every game you want to get better each game and hopefully you've learned a lot of lessons along the way.
OLUMUYIWA FAMUTIMI, CANADA
Can you talk about the beginning of the game, hitting the 3-point shots and staying close and then suddenly you got away from that or you weren't able to find the open looks for the three.
The U.S. is a great team, collectively defensively they're pros. They took it away from us, that is something we have to work on.
Did they deny you the spot that you wanted?
They just didn't let me get the ball, it was real hard.