Additional Quotes >> USA 127, Mexico 100
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USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski
On today's game:
Nolan Richardson's team really shot the heck out of the ball. They played well. You can tell (that they're in great shape). I was speaking with him (Nolan) before the game and he said that they've been training since May. They're in great shape. They never gave up, whenever we got up by 30 or 27 or whatever (the margin). They just kept making shots. That's to their credit. Tayshaun, we held him out tonight but he could have gone if need be; he said he will be ready tomorrow. Anyway, let's just keep moving on.
I think both teams played last night. Last night was a very big game, for us, against Brazil and there was a lot of energy spent, and emotion, and adrenaline, by both teams. And there wasn't a crowd for each one of us tonight. In Brazil's case, they lost, and Puerto Rico played great.
Folks around the world are going to look at this game and say, 'Wow, Mexico scored 100 points on them'. Is that kind of an ominous sign?
Whatever sign somebody wants to make of it. We scored about 130 points, so, it was one of those games where a lot of fouls, a lot of - it was a different kind of game. To their credit, they never gave up. They just played every second of the game. For us, we need to move on. We've played great in this tournament. We can play better than we played tonight. But, when we win by 30, I'm not going to complain. That's a good thing.
Is it a fair statement that Dwight Howard and Amare Stoudemire have the biggest changes to make in that they have to run out to the perimeter and guard shooters as well as guarding big men, when both are on the court at the same time?
That's a fair statement. A lot of international teams play their big guys outside. A few of the teams in this tournament, their big guys aren't good shooters from outside. That isn't the case for Mexico. Mexico not only rolls or slips, they pop. We kept playing against it because we needed practice against it. We could have gone zone early. We could have done some trapping. One of the things about playing game after game like this, in kind of a crazy format, is that you don't practice. So, sometimes you let things go in a game like this that you would not let go in a close game, so that you would keep going on it. So, that is how we have tried to do it.
Why the lineup changes?
Just to give it a change. Also, those two guys are like starters. We may go back to the original starters tomorrow but Chauncey (Billups) and Amare (Stoudemire) have both been playing great. Chauncey played a terrific game against Brazil.
Carmelo Anthony, Denver Nuggets
Did Mexico surprise you at all? You had them down at the first quarter and they made a good effort to come back.
Yes, they played hard. They never gave up. It was an ugly game tonight but we won and we'll take it.
You guys have been winning by 40 or 50 points recently. Is it hard to keep that up?
Like you said, we've been winning by 40 or 50 points so when we win by 20, 25 it doesn't look right. But our game is going to get better and we'll be ready for tomorrow.
Was it them or you that caused the point dip tonight?
I think it was us. We came in, we looked at the crowd and there weren't that many people around and we didn't have any energy. LeBron came in at the half time and said, look, the energy has to move on up. We tried to find a way to get that energy tonight.
Chauncey Billups, Detroit Pistons
Coach K talked this afternoon about having that second round urgency. But then what happened?
There was a game that we played yesterday that we had been looking forward to against Brazil. We won a big game and then we start the second round and we play the team with the worst record. We thought it might be a little easy and we let our guard down just a little bit.
What's the risk that you see when you sometimes let your guard down and suddenly you find that you might be out of the tournament?
It's a game. We have to get that energy and try our best every night. And if we don't have that energy, we have to create it. It is tough to play a good game when you have a bad quarter.
On his first start and the game overall:
It was good. It was fun. It was kind of tough because there wasn't much energy in the building. Especially coming off a big win yesterday against Brazil, a very emotional game. Starting the second part of the pool play, playing against a team that had the worst record in the other pool, it's kind of tough to get up sometimes but that's a learning experience for us and we have to try not to do that again.
On Mexico's performance:
They actually had a pretty good offense. Lot of pick and roll. As opposed to one guy and everybody else standing around looking for shots, everybody was in constant motion so they could cut to the basket. They played hard; they played extremely hard. You really do have to give them credit.
On tomorrow vs. Puerto Rico:
We're looking forward to it. Puerto Rico had a big, big win today, and we kind of feel like they think they can beat us. I know there won't be no let down tomorrow.
Kobe Bryant, Los Angeles Lakers
Kobe, how hard was it for this team to get motivated at the start of the game? It was very quiet in the gym, almost like a practice atmosphere.
I think everybody was just a little stiff tonight. We had a hard time getting loose and getting going. It took us a while to find that rhythm and get our legs, and once we did, we were able to make a pretty good run.
Is it special to play these games in front of your home crowd? And what was it like to play the other night, here, on your birthday?
That was the first time I ever played in a game on my birthday. That was a little weird, a little awkward even for them to chant and sing happy birthday to me, but it was a great feeling. I'll tell you what, Celine Dion definitely wasn't in the crowd.
Any thoughts on the play of Romel Beck for Mexico?
He is a very good player, a young player, but one with tremendous upside. The important thing is to continue to work and continue to get better. He has a bright future ahead of himself, he just needs to stay the course.
Coach K: He has had a really good tournament. He's done a great job. He's a really good player. Nolan has done a great job with them.
Tyson Chandler, New Orleans Hornets
Your thoughts on coach Mike D'Antoni:
He's an offensive guru. Anytime he draws up a play it's like a guaranteed bucket. It's a pleasure to work with him.
On playing with Amare Stoudemire and Dwight Howard?
It's been great playing with him and Dwight Howard. I couldn't ask for anything better. I'm learning a lot from both of them. Everyone brings different things to the table. But it's been an absolute pleasure.
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
On Mexico hanging in the game:
That didn't surprise us. We knew they were going to be scrapping and trying to beat us like everybody else. We try to do the best we can. We didn't play as well as we needed to play. But we got a good win
On playing better tonight after a tough game last night:
I didn't think about it. It's just like an NBA game; you have one bad night, you come back the next night and try to play hard. So, I wasn't really concerned about last night. I just tried to come back today with a better effort.
On his role on the team:
That's my role, to block shots and rebound. Everybody got to know their role. I know what I got to do for our team to win and I'll try to do the best I can.
My role is to rebound and block shots, run the floor, set good picks and just be dominant. If I score, I score. If I don't, I still have to play good defense.
LeBron James, Cleveland Cavaliers
Is this team waiting to be challenged?
It's all about us trying to challenge ourselves to go out there and play hard every night. We know we're capable of beating any team. But there could be one night where we beat ourselves and we don't want that to happen. It's about challenging ourselves.
Was the team feeling sluggish tonight?
Definitely. We felt it in our legs. It was one of those times like when you have practice and you just don't feel like practicing but you have to get through it. Today was one of those days but we still made plays and won the ball game.
With Puerto Rico coming up next do you think about the 2004 loss?
I don't. For me 2004 doesn't mean much. I was part of the team but I really wasn't part of the team. This is a new group of guys and we understand how important this is and we are going to come out and play hard and try to win the game.
Jason Kidd, New Jersey Nets
How do you feel about tonight's win?
We feel good. We kind of took a step back tonight. We didn't have the energy but it was a good game and now we have to get ready for Puerto Rico.
Was this the most difficult game of the tournament?
It was probably one of the most physical games but tomorrow night will be a little harder; a little more physical, I think. Puerto Rico is probably a more of an NBA-type team. We look forward to tomorrow being a little bit more of a challenge for us.
What happened with you coming off the bench tonight and Chauncey getting in first?
Coach is experimenting. He's trying different stuff. It's been four games in a row for me so, being a little bit older, I don't mind coming off the bench. That's just part of the game.
Are you getting tired from playing all of these games back to back?
Yes. For us, we got six games in a row so our energy was a little low from our warm-up. We were maybe thinking a little bit ahead to Puerto Rico. Mexico played great. They made a lot of shots. They have a great coach. They can play with anybody.
Tayshaun Prince, Detroit Pistons
Talk a little bit about your ankle. Do you think you might be able to get back on the court soon?
It's fine. I'll probably play tomorrow. I would have played today but it wasn't at 100% so it wouldn't have made sense to go out there. I got a good workout in before the game so I'll probably be back tomorrow.
Are you relieved it was just a sprain?
Yes. I'm a quick healer so I'm not that worried. It was something that happened real fast right on the tendon.
You haven't missed a game since your rookie year. Was it hard not being on the floor?
Of course. I would probably have played if it were a tougher situation but with the guys that are here, they're going to pick each other up each night. We're playing at a higher level so it was a no-brainer for me.
Wit you getting hurt yesterday and a bunch of the guys getting in foul trouble, how much of a luxury is that you have the depth to handle this stuff and most guys here don't?
Well the thing about it is, you could put LeBron at the four, Melo's playing the four, and so is Amare. Guys who are naturally threes in the NBA are playing fours in the tournament. And of course we have big point guards. The people that we have allows us to adjust with me going down.
Michael Redd, Milwaukee Bucks
Is this team prepared for a tougher challenge?
Every night is different, every night presents different challenges. We have to be ready for any type of challenge and any style of play. We are so deep so we it's a matter of us staying together and having fun.
Is there room for improvement?
As talented as we are, it's still a challenge. We've been watching a lot of film not just on our opponents but ourselves as well so we can try to figure out what we're doing wrong at the same time.
Was there lack of intensity and energy tonight because of last night's game?
No. It's a combination of having five games in six nights. A monkey jumped on our backs and we talked about it at halftime. We picked up the energy. We're enough and guys are tired so we just said let's pick it up. We did.
NOLAN RICHARDSON, MEXICO HEAD COACH
The US is a talented team. We think we played a different game than what other teams played against the US. Romel Beck played a very good game against Kobe. He is a very good player.
Will Beck play on Tuesday night?
I think he will play; we use Beck quite a bit. We played a lot of basketball games before we even got here, to try and get prepared for this tournament. We probably played too much and he is probably getting worn down. Hopefully all the teams are getting worn down and that will slow them down and maybe we will be back to normal with everybody else.
I have always been proud of Beck. He is an unusual type basketball player. You give him basically a green light to do some things. In certain ball games there are things he has to do or to learn to do that will make him an even better basketball player. He went against some of the greatest basketball players and showed them that he is a pretty good basketball player. I think he has the chance to be something very special.
As soon as the game was over, everyone was talking about the great second quarter your team had, can you take a moral victory out of this because it was such a great effort and that you did score 100 points?
I am not into moral victories, I am into the fact that we came back and we played extremely hard in the second quarter. That's how my teams have always been, we never give up. That is what I told them about the game tomorrow, let's bring that same intensity back to the game tomorrow and put it on display and see what happens. There was not question that I was very proud of that.
ROMEL BECK, MEXICO
You had a good game against Kobe can you speak about that
It was never a one-on-one match up. Kobe is a great player, we all know that. I just went out there and tried to play team ball. I'm a slasher, I'm a driver and I'm a scorer, that's what I do. I never came into the game thinking that this is Kobe Bryant and I'm going to go one-on-one with him. If I had the opportunity to attack then I wanted to do that to help my team win.
How is your calf?
It started to tighten up towards the end of the third quarter, I felt it tighten up. I put some ice on it and took some medicine so hopefully I'll be ready to roll.