Additional Quotes >> USA 113, Brazil 76
August 26, 2007 ï¿½ Las Vegas, Nevada
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski
On today's game:
We beat a really good team today. Brazil is one of the best international teams, their coach is outstanding. We had a great game against them last year. They had a terrific game plan against us. I thought our defense in the second and third quarter was at the highest level that it has been at during the tournament. Chauncey [Billups] was huge for us; we think we have at least seven starters on the team. Obviously anyone could start but for me to be able to have Chauncey go in there and alternate him and Jason is a huge plus. LeBron [James] floor game was magnificent, it was really good. We had some adversity tonight, Tayshaun [Prince] is out at least a day maybe two with a sprained ankle. We had foul trouble right away with Carmelo [Anthony] and Dwight [Howard] and we had to use LeBron at the four, which is something we haven't used yet. There was a lot going on in that first half and our guys responded real well.
Did you mean to target Barbosa the way you did or was that guys rising to the challenge?
He's the leading scorer in the tournament, I think, he's averaging 27 points and the next guy on their team is averaging 13. I think we at times we went too much that way and didn't talk as well as we have been talking the first three games. But overall that's a nice mistake or nice adjustment to make when we're going so hard.
Coach they were successful getting back into the game by dribble penetration and breaking down the defense a little it. Was that the purpose of putting Chauncey and Tayshuan in together and did it work better as a tandem?
That was a little bit more of our normal substitution. We played a good team, you hope you get a lead and you don't expect them to not to come back, it's a long game. They have too many good players, that is the biggest team we have played, they are very strong. They have four big guys. You are concentrating on Barbosa and playing the bigs and their guards got by us a few times. Splitter did a really good job in the first period of driving the ball to the basket, it was obviously their goal was to do that. I think we made adjustments in that regard, our guys did a much better job after the first quarter.
We don't want to give penetration, we don't want to give three's, we don't want to give points. You do give up three's you do give up points and you do give up penetration and you just hope you don't do it as much as they do it for you, that's why games aren't shutouts. They are good. They are really a good basketball team. We respect them to the utmost.
In the second round you will meet Argentina. What is your opinion about Argentina?
I have not studied Argentina because we don't play them until Thursday probably. One of the things our team has done is that we really respect the international game and we respect every team playing. You do that through preparing for them, full preparation. We won't change. If after Wednesday's game you ask me about Argentina I will be more able to do that.
You have seen Argentina?
They [Argentina] were not in our pool, this is a big game. The guys who were scouting have seen Argentina but for a head coach, especially older head coaches you don't want to give an older head coach too much information, we confuse things. We need our wives around to remind us what the hell we are doing.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
This was a big game. Before the game, did you talk more with Kobe and LeBron about how the three of you need to play better than you have?
Yes. At the beginning of the game we came together as a team and talked about how this is one of our biggest games out here that we play. We have to play good together and keep doing what we're doing.
Could you talk about what it means to play with a point guard like J. Kidd?
It's a dream come true. The guy won't have to keep looking at you to just to give you the ball. All you have to do is keep running the court and he's going to find you. I think I'm blessed to play with a guy like that.
Compared to other point guards, what is he capable of?
Just the way he sees the court. This is the first time I've ever played with him and he knows where I'm at, where I like the ball where to throw it at, where to give it to me.
Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
I was trying to be a little more aggressive tonight. This was a big game and I want to start trying to be a little more aggressive and shoot the ball when I have the opportunities. I want to just do the things that I feel like I'm here to do and that's to try and lead, play tough defense and get the ball to our scorers. And when I have opportunities (to shoot) that's also one of the reasons they have me, to shoot the ball and to be able to spread the defense out.
Did you mean to target Barbosa the way you did or was that guys rising to the challenge?
We did put a lot of focus on Barbosa, he's a dangerous player. He can beat you inside, he's so fast, so quick to the basket. He can get you in foul trouble so we put a lot of emphasis on him, on stopping him. Kobe started off and did a great job trying to denying him the ball and not let him get touches and playing physical with him. When he [Kobe] came out of the game, whether it was me or whoever else on him we took the challenge and tried to do the same thing. We felt like we could take him out of the game and make the other guys make plays that we would have a great chance tonight.
Did Mike D'Antoni come up with a few hints on playing Barbosa?
Not really, we have all played against him a lot. Of course Mike knows about him more than any of us do, having the pleasure of coaching him. We all know his tendencies and the things he likes to do and his sweet spots on the court just from playing against him during the season. Like I said he is their most dangerous player and wanted to make our best effort to stop him.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Is this the toughest game you've played so far in this tournament?
I think it's the biggest challenge we've had thus far and took us a while to adjust to some of the things they were trying to do and then we finally settled in and were able to get a handle in the game.
Is it possible for you guys to get better?
No question about it. It's all about communication and maintaining rhythm. And that's why Colangelo had a vision to put this team together for a period of time so that we could continue to work together and get better.
How about Mexico with Coach Roberts?
We got a chance to watch them play a little bit before our game tonight and we understand they're under a little pressure. We just have to make sure we're ready.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
This team has a reputation for great teamwork. Your impression?
I agree. Everybody is playing together. We have one common goal and that is to win the gold medal.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Your thoughts on the team after four games?
We're looking good, but we can still get a lot better. We turned the ball over too much tonight. We're just trying to make plays.
What is the mindset of this team?
We have a determination to win every single game. We come out with that mindset to get it done.
With Tayshaun Prince leaving early with an injury, how did you react to having to play more minutes?
I'm used to playing big minutes. I put my body in good shape to go out there and do that.
Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
On Leandro Barbosa:
He's been averaging 27 points so that just shows you he is definitely a great player. But, I thought the guys tonight came out and took the challenge to try and slow him down. I don't know how many points he ended up with but we tried to make it as tough as possible on him.
On Kobe Bryant:
He's competing. His nature's about competing. This is his job ï¿½ he loves competing against anybody. For him, it's about playing defense. He enjoys that challenge. He understands he doesn't have to score 60 points to help us win. He can use a little bit more energy on the defensive end and he's done that.
On guarding Barbosa:
He loved the challenge. From the opening tipoff of that first game against Venezuela, he wants to take the best offensive player and make it as tough as possible. And tonight against Barbosa, he did it again. Barbosa's been averaging 27 and he made it tough on him tonight.
On getting ready for the second round:
Now, we go across to the other pool and we play Mexico tomorrow. And then we have the opportunity to play Puerto Rico, Argentina and Uruguay. Now, you get to play the other side and now we are starting over. I think you got to look upon it as being 0-0 and now trying to dominate this pool.
On getting challenged early in the game:
The game of basketball is about scoring, and Brazil is a very good team. For us, we just stayed the course. Nobody panicked. Right there before halftime, we went on a run and was up 19. For us, it's never about our opponent ï¿½ it's about us getting better and not pushing the panic button. We just stayed the course and kept playing defense and we started talking and that was the big turning point for us.
Playing for Mike D'Antoni:
We are trying to figure out if we can get that type of style to New Jersey. Mike is a great coach who keeps it simple, makes the game easy. He's all about scoring and that fits this team's personality to get out and run and put points on the board.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
How does it feel playing on your first USA Basketball senior team?
I'm so blessed, so grateful to be on the team, first of all. I'm just shooting over two or three hands regularly in the NBA and now I'm shooting wide open shots. It feels good.
Do you think it's possible for you guys to get better?
Absolutely. There's no rest if you want to win. With every game and every shot and every quarter we're going to get better, so that's how that goes.
Do you guys get tired with the schedule playing four games in five nights?
Obviously we have depth. Our team is so deep. So you're not playing a whole lot of minutes. That's what we need to win, depth.
Amarï¿½ Stoudemire, Phoenix Suns
Your thoughts on the game?
This was a well-fought battle. We're both proud teams and we played hard. Our defensive intensity picked up in the second quarter and that really helped get us rolling.
Is there a focus on improving defensively?
I think coach has done a great job of teaching the importance of playing defense. Players need to execute.
Differences between this year's USA tournament team and the previous one?
Our guys are a little smarter, a little more experienced. We know what it takes to win on the defensive end. We need to continue with that great effort. That's our focus.
What was it like to play against Suns teammate Leandro Barbosa?
I guess pretty much as it is in practice. All you can do is just try to control him and contain him. We had a lot of fun out there tonight.
Deron Williams, Utah Jazz
Can you guys get any better?
Definitely. If we want to win the whole thing we have to continue to get better. We have to continue to mesh with each other and I think we're doing that.
Do you like where things are going?
Definitely. We're playing great basketball right now. Everybody's being unselfish and we're talking on defense. It's a beautiful thing to watch.
You have Mexico tomorrow night. Talk about that challenge.
They're going to have a team that will be ready to play. We just have to worry about ourselves. We have to come out and play our basketball. Like I said, it's all about defense. Play defense how we're playing and we'll be fine.
ALUSIO FERREIRA, BRAZIL HEAD COACH
What do you think about this loss?
I think this loss will happen to everyone; our chances and goals are still the same as before. We had some good moments and others no so much. We played against an impressive team that gains by its individual quality and by its rival's mistakes. Their three-point shootings complicated even more our game, but I believe that our team did what they had to do. They played the game with a specific goal up to a point in the game as after a while the objective changed. We came to win the game, but by the third quarter when the US team made eight three-pointers out of twelve tries our goal changed. Our goal then became to standardize the team for the followings matches.
What do you expect for the second round?
The sequence is not going to matter as much as we will have to go against the top teams qualified for it. Brazil will now look to get the best possible qualification. We are now going to try to do our best during the second round to get into the semifinals looking for the second or third placement. That is our objective.
Can you comment about the US's defense strategy today?
I think it was a game where the US team played with all of its dedication and passion. In a way I think that was very good for us as we got to train our defensive strategy. It gave us a strong challenge, and in my opinion the Brazil team came out OK.
Can you talk about Kobe Bryant on Barbosa and how this affected Brazil's strategy?
We are trying to play collectively and not concentrate on one individual. Of course Leandro is a key player, but we try playing with all of our players. They simply did what we try to do; to start with our strongest players especially on the offensive.
TIAGO SPLITTER, BRAZIL
Do you think that your efforts today serve as a credential for your selection in the NBA draft?
I think that my performance today was not anything out of this world. I simply did my job. Some of our plays today depended on me and I tried to simply do my best either making shoots or defending. I think the most important thing is the team as coach said. Today we could not win as the other team played a better game, but we will continue to work towards our overall goal.
What was your biggest challenge for today against team USA?
They have very talented players. Their defense is very complicated as they often make changes, which it became a challenge for us. In a way we were able to balance the game at first, but their offensive strategy with the three-pointers was the problem.
MARCELO MACHADO, BRAZIL
What did you think about today's game?
As I said yesterday, we came to win, but at the end the game became more difficult than expected. We were able to balance the game in the first quarter for a while, but they had a better game. Today's game is already done, and we knew it was going to be a challenge. We knew that no matter what the score of this game, we could not let ourselves down or think we were going to be qualified. So today's game is passed; now we have to think about tomorrow's game.
Either way, does this loss affect the player in an emotional way?
It's always bad to loose a game with such a big difference as what happened. We were going against a solid team with some of the best players in the world. We cannot let this bring us down. Our thought is still the same as our chance is still the same. Now we have to get into the second round thinking about winning the games necessaries to be qualified for Beijing.
They cut back to two by penetration. What did they do to adjust?
I think they have a good percentage on three-pointers. They play strong and fast. We missed a lot of shots, and they had fast breaks with three-pointers. So they easily opened up 15 points over us. Playing against a team like this is hard to get back once they break ahead. We just have to focus on tomorrow's games as we knew that no matter what happened today our Olympic chances remain the same. We still have four games in the second round and we'll have to try winning all four to get to the semi-finals. Our goal is still qualifying to the Olympic G