Additional Quotes >> USA 86, Spain 85
Aug. 22, 2010 • Madrid, Spain
USA head coach Mike Kryzyzewski
About the game:
Great crowd, two excellent teams playing their hearts out and we felt fortunate to win. We made one more play then they did and that’s how good the game was.
What have you learned between the game last night and today; and what did you think of some of your outside players like Rose, how they stepped up and were able to contribute?
We were trying to learn about our younger players so we started a different lineup. Before we talk about the outside, Lamar Odom should be our starting center. He’s finally into shape I think to play at this level. Curry has been out so we wanted to give him a chance and we already know what Rondo and Granger can do, and Love was out. The doctor wanted to keep him out because of hitting his head and because it’s back-to-back, so that was a precaution. That was our plan tonight, just to take a better look at our team.
Talk about what you saw from Ricky Rubio and him making the step to the NBA, if you see him making it easily; and also about why Rondo didn’t play so much.
(About Rondo and Granger not playing) Those are two veterans and young guys haven’t had a chance to start or whatever, so before we select our 12 we needed to give everyone a look.
Ricky I think would be a great pro guard. He’s big, he’s gotten bigger. He plays outstanding defense and because he’s a pass first guard he’s going to be liked by everybody who plays with him and he’s improved his shooting. He’s not afraid, he loves to play. I didn’t realize the last time we played against him was the Olympics and I think he’s grown, physically and little bit height wise. He has a great frame for the NBA.
Talk about going zone on the last possession and how international rules actually favor that type of strategy.
We’ve practiced a lot with the zone and we used zone on all under out of bounds which were good. Then from the timeout Jim Boeheim said let’s go orange, we call it orange with respect for Jim, he said he doesn’t have any buildings named after him in Syracuse so we’ll name the zone after him. I agreed with him, but it was his suggestion and the guys did a good job with it.
Our team has been treated fabulously in your beautiful country, and the people have been amazing with us and we want to say thank you for that.
Chauncey Billups (Denver Nuggets)
Thoughts coming in to the game with Spain:
It’s going to be war, it’s going to be a war. Although this was an exhibition game, that team is a machine and we knew that going in. We knew that going in and we just executed a great game plan.
What was the difference between last night and tonight?
We got off to a better start obviously. We put them on their heels early and they were just kind of fighting to get back in the game the rest of the way. Obviously, they got back in the game. We knew they would make a run and we just stayed together.
What did Coach say about defending them in their final possession?
I thought we mixed them up a little bit because we started man and changed it up into a zone. I thought that that kind of made them back pedal a bit. They couldn’t run their play obviously and KD came up with two unbelievable blocks.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
On the game:
I thought we played well. It was a definite challenge coming out to play Spain, a tough team playing in a home arena in front of their fans.
Definitely, happy to get the win and it was good for us to get this experience before we go to Turkey if we are going to try to win this thing.
Can Spain win the championship?
They are a very talented team. They’re very experienced as well. So, they have, I guess, an advantage going into it with having so many guys back and playing with each other for so long. Hopefully, we do what we want to do and get to the finals and hopefully meet them there and it will be a good game.
Thoughts on Spain?
Great team. Very experienced. You can tell that they have played with each other for a while in the international game. For us to come out here and try to compete with them, it was definitely a great experience for us. They’re going to be a tough team in Turkey. For us to have played against them, it was nice to get this experience before it really counts … I think we’ll meet them in the Round of 16 probably so this was really good for us.
Comparing Spain and USA:
They’re one of the favorites going in. They have a lot of expectations on them. A lot of people aren’t expecting as much out of us because we’re not the team that everybody saw in the Olympics. For us to come out here and play well like we did today and just go through a game and get some experience of how it’s going to be in Turkey, playing in hostile environments. That will make us a better team for when we get to Turkey.
What did you think of Ricky Rubio?
First time I saw him live. He’s very talented. If he ever came to the NBA, he would definitely make a great impact. He can see the floor … he can pass … he’s pretty fast with the ball. So, he can do a lot of things. For anybody that can handle the ball and pass like he does, a team is going to value that in the NBA. I was very impressed with him.
Our team has been treated fabulously in your beautiful country, and the people have been amazing with us and we want to say thank you for that..
~ Mike Krzyzewski
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
General comments on the game.
First off it was a fun game, one of those games that was a learning experience for us, coming over here and playing one of the best teams in the world. I think we made key plays down the stretch and we also played together as a team and stuck together through tough times. So it was a good test for us and I’m glad we moved past it.
What have you learned between the game last night and today?
It was very physical yesterday and something that was new to us. I think from yesterday to today we did a great job of handling that and guys took it to the basket and played strong the whole game. I think that was the biggest thing, we learned that it was a physical game and you have to continue to play through it.
Talk about what you saw from Ricky Rubio and him making the step to the NBA, if you see him making it easily.
I never really got to see Rubio play before and he impressed me a lot. Like coach said, he’s an amazing defender. I think that’s one thing that stood out to me is how well he pressured the ball and he disrupted our offense a little bit. He’s flashy, you know he’s crafty as well and the passes he threw tonight you know I was kind of amazed. I think for any rookie coming into the league there’s going to be an adjustment but I think he’ll be fine.
That last possession you had two blocks, could you see them maybe slow a step when you switched into the zone and talk about your blocks.
I just wanted to cover a much ground as I could and help my teammates out. I saw Ricky Rubio open in the corner and I just wanted to use my length to get out there and tip the shot and I was able to get a finger on it and I had the ball and it kind of slipped out of my hand and Rubio got it back and threw it to Fernandez and I just didn’t want to jump and get a foul on a three-point shot so I stayed down and kind of timed it pretty well and I was fortunate enough to get a block and the game was over. I just wanted to do something to help my team win.
Andre Iguodala (Philadelphia 76ers)
Thoughts on the game:
I think it was another tough game. We made our run and they came back. We kept our composure and then they took the lead, and we were still able to execute down the stretch. Kevin Durant was good and he was great on that last possession getting stops.
On the environment
It was pretty intense. Seemed like our backs were against the wall. Things weren’t going our way. We were able to play through that. That’s the best thing. We didn’t really let it alter the way we wanted to execute and it worked out for us.
On Derrick Rose at the end of the game
He made two big free throws and like I told him after the game, those were really big confidence-wise for him and the rest of the team … to know that we got a guy we can go to down the stretch.
What do you take from this game?
I think what we take from this game is that it’s a good win but we got to continue getting better. I don’t think we are satisfied yet. A lot of these teams have been playing together for a long time and they’re peaking or they’ve already peaked. But, we still haven’t got there yet so we have room for improvement and we’re just excited for Turkey.
How difficult is Spain to guard?
They have been playing for a long time together; they know each other. Everyone knows their go-to moves and how to set each other up. They got a bunch of old veteran players who are good as well as young players so they have a talented team.
What improvement have you seen in the last two games?
Defensively, we buckled down when we needed to and got stops so that’s good for us. Our halfcourt offense has been coming along well. I think just mentally we’ve gotten better the most as far as not panicking, settling down and doing what we need to do in key situations to get wins.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
Thoughts on the game?
Certain guys stepped towards the end of the game to make clutch plays at the end of the game, like KD, Chauncey everybody … like rebounding the ball, Lamar and Tyson were down there fighting. I guess we’re jelling a little bit right now.
On his winning free throws:
This is something I’m never going to forget … never. I’ll remember this as right now when I’m building up my legacy in this league. This is something I will never forget, some of the fans will never forget. My mom, my family, this is definitely a memorable moment right now.
What were the keys to the game?
Towards the end, just little plays. Coach K called the great defensive play where we went zone. We act like were in man and we went zone towards the end. And KD got the huge blocks. When stuff like that happens, it definitely helps us. There were other plays where we got steals and other plays like we were not passing the ball very well. But towards the end, I think we finished the game very well.
On Kevin Durant:
I tell him every game that he’s leading us. We’re following him. We are going to have to live and die with him. He came out and played well and you see the team followed him.
On the end of the game:
It was great just playing. The crowd was unbelievable. Playing against great players as a team … they’re a veteran team and know what they are doing out there. It was a great challenge and we should take this and run with it.
On switching to zone on the last possession I think they were going to do another clear out at the top of the key and we didn’t want that to happen. We knew they were going to get the call and Kevin Durant played some great defense at the end of the game.
How much did you relish playing against Rubio for the first time?
It was great. It was just a test. He’s a young player who played great. He really runs the offense very well, very good offensively. I think he should be ready for the NBA.
What was going through your head when shooting the free throws?
I got to hit them. As your legacy goes on or the way you want your legacy to finally end, this is something that some people are going to remember, or over here, people are going to remember me for this if they don’t see me playing any more over here. So, I know that they are going to remember all these memories.
On the play in which he scored on the go ahead layup:
It was made for me to play aggressive. Coach K and them told me to just push the ball and we’re going to do a high pick and roll – a drag – to where I could make an option, attack. If people are open, pass the ball and if not, try to get fouled.
Russell Westbrook (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On the game:
It was hard. It was a good experience for us. We came out and played hard.
What do you need to improve?
A lot. We did a good job of staying together and competing throughout the whole game. That was the key for us to come out with the win.
Was it easier playing Spain without Pau Gasol?
I don’t know. This was my first time playing against Spain with or without Pau so I wouldn’t know that.
Can you talk about the closeness of the game?
It was a tough game. On their home court. We just fought through adversity and came out with a win.