Additional Quotes >> USA Men's National Team 95, Brazil 78
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
On the game:
I was pleased with our team. There were a lot of interruptions. The one thing that was consistent was effort. Our guys played hard in every practice. They are really a good group, and playing an outstanding team like Brazil was really encouraging for us. I thought the guys were terrific defensively. We are still getting to know each other. In the second quarter, we just shot jump shots, and gave up the lead. But the third quarter was really good.
On Derrick's play:
Tom can talk more about his progress, he coaches Derrick. I wish I could coach him. What a life Thibs has, he coaches in Chicago, he coaches Derrick, he lives downtown. I can't think of anything better. Derrick has been magnificent since the start of training camp. He is really one of the greatest guys in the whole world. I am ecstatic for him. That play at the end of the half that play really gave us some momentum and he carried it into the second half.
Was anyone else outstanding besides Davis?
I thought Klay Thompson made the big shot of the game when they cut it to five and he had that three. Also, Kyrie's defense, when you get that combination and Derrick on the point, the two of them can play together. Also, Mason Plumlee did well. He shouldn't even be here, he was on the Select Team. He did a good job.
USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau (Chicago Bulls)
On the game:
I thought it was a really good performance. It was a good baseline for us. Our guys have put a lot of work in. The challenge for us is how quickly you can get everyone on the same page. The guys understand what is at stake. There is a lot of history with U.S. basketball, a lot of pride in representing the country. It is great to be here, back in Chicago, and great to watch Derrick play. I could not be more pleased with the way he played.
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
How did you feel tonight being back in Chicago?
I felt great. First time I played on this floor since high school, you know, so it was great to be back here in front of my home crowd, friends and family come out supporting me. Most importantly, we got the win.
Physically what happened on that play where you went over the front row?
Nothing. I’m good, I’m fine. I hope she’s fine, because that was 240 pounds coming right at her. I hope she’s good. But that’s the type of plays we need, hustle plays, and that really got us going.
Very impressive game all the way around by you tonight, what did you think of your performance?
I’m just out there playing. You know, I kind of struggled in the first half missing shots I normally take, and Kyrie told me, he asked me, ‘Are you going to stop shooting the ball because you missed three jump shots?’ and I told him no. We came out and ran a play for me and made the first one, and he said that’s all you needed. Then I hit my next three or four, whatever, how many it was, but I’m just trying to go out there and play. I’m very comfortable and confident, so I just go out and play to the best of my ability.
What does playing in this environment do for you? Is it like playing in and NBA Playoff game?
Yeah, you know, there’s a lot of great talent on this team, and you don’t want to take this for granted. We know this team is going to come out and play free when they play USA. Everybody wants to beat USA, so we got to think of it like that when we step on the floor each and every game. It is fun. You definitely have fun playing in environments like this, because no team is going to take it easy on you.
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
How do you think you guys played tonight?
I think we played hard. We played hard, played defense, got after it, and that is what we need to do to win this gold. We are just going to play hard, play defense and get after it each and every night. Rebound the ball, all the hustle plays. We have to win all of the hustle plays.
What changed in the fourth quarter that helped the USA run away with the game?
I think we just kept attacking, and they thought we were going to let up on our pressure, and that is what didn’t happen. We kept getting after it, kept attacking, especially on the defensive end. We kept wearing them down, wearing them down, and in the fourth quarter we were able to bust the game wide open.
How good does it feel to get a win under your belt?
It feels great. It’s amazing. This is my first time putting on a USA jersey and really representing our country, and it feels great to come out with a win.
Rudy Gay (Sacramento Kings)
What kind of feedback did you get from the coaches tonight?
You know, they just, not too much, not too much. We’ll figure it out in practice and, you know, work the out the kinks. When you get out there you just want to do so well you forget how much preparation you had, so I got to learn on the fly.
You feel good about your chances to make the team?
I hope so. I mean, hopefully. I’m out here and that’s the plan, but you know if not, I’m going to go back and work on my game.
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
How did you think you guys did tonight?
We did a pretty good job. We got so many guys that can contribute. We really didn’t know who was going to play tonight. Coach just figured, tried to figure the lineups out, different matchups, and guys that played during the game competed hard and shared the basketball.
What did you think about Derrick?
He hadn’t played in two years so we expected a little rust, but for the most part he looks phenomenal. His quickness is there, his explosiveness is there, you know, he is passing the ball well and he did a great job today
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
How do you think you guys played tonight?
I think we played really. For our first exhibition game, I think we came out aggressive. Obviously, there are things that we can do better on both ends of the floor, and I’m looking forward to the next exhibition game in New York.
Did it feel good to get the first win under your belt?
Absolutely. We wanted to make a statement, not only to ourselves but to the rest of the world that we came to play and we are going to represent the U.S. to the best of our abilities.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
How did you feel?
I felt great, I really needed this game. The last couple of weeks, going through the practices, playing hard on defense, and just letting the game come to me.
What was the biggest adjustment?
The biggest adjustment was getting back to practice and getting use to this ball. It is lighter and if you get sweat on it, it is all over. It is a process building on it every day. Playing against this competition, I was just trying to get my win back. I am going hard at practice and pushing myself every day.
On the response you got from the fans on the crossover layup:
It was just a play. I guess people want me to do it every time. I just saw an opening and I went for it. It was just me playing the way that I play. This is big for the city and for USA basketball. I just wanted to play hard and play basketball.
On the acknowledgment:
It means a lot. I know it is basketball, but this is bigger than the game of basketball. It is bigger than one person. I have been preparing for this for a long time. If this was a couple of weeks ago, I might have been emotional. But, we won the game. That is the only thing I can be happy about. If we would have lost, the whole attitude would have been different. We will take this win to New York and try to do the same.
Did you feel like you were pressing:
When I was out there it was like they wanted me to shoot every ball. I just wanted to concentrate on playing defense and when the shot is available, take the shot. That is what I did tonight. We needed the way we played tonight with guys blocking shots and getting rebounds. That is how you have to play with Brazil having the bigs they do.
On your conditioning, how did it feel playing the whole 3rd quarter?
I did not notice that. It felt good. I was of course winded when you reach four or five minutes. I just play through that every day. Go to practice, play hard, and do conditioning on my legs. I am doing the things to make myself a better athlete. Probably won't get any sleep tonight, I am excited. This is huge for us. An event like this Chicago basketball-wise, I know everyone was excited. It was all positive. In Chicago, it is like basketball is everything. You can go to a high school game, and it is so crowded you can't get in. A lot of the young players in town showed their face at the game. The reaction I got was cool, but I can't get big headed about it. You just have to keep going forward.
On the play at the end of the 1st half and on your crossover move, can you tell us what was going through your mind?
On the first play, with four seconds left, I thought I was going to sit out, but Coach K told me to take the ball. I thought James Harden was going to have a shot, but no one helped on defense, so I had a clear lane for the floater. The one on the side I saw I had an advantage when I came off the pick. It looked like the defender was confused. I saw his feet stumble, and I took in all those things as a player and I saw the big was on the other side of the lane. It looked like I had the whole lane to myself.
On the crowd’s reaction to Kyrie Irving and Anderson Varejao?
I don't think it is a rivalry with Cleveland. We haven't played them yet. They have a really good team, especially if they pick up Love. That is so far away right now. I'm just glad we got the win tonight.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
On Derrick Rose:
I thought he had a lot of attention on him. I know this was a big night for him, coming back to his home court. Chicago missed seeing him the last two years. He kept a straight face all night, but I know it meant a lot to him. This was a great start to his recovery. He is taking full advantage of the time he's had off to heal. Physically he looks like Derrick, he just needs to get back to the level he is used to. That will come.
About playing this summer:
I took a rest after the season, but I mainly focused on maintaining the level I was at the end of the season last year. I knew I would be pushed to practice with this team this summer. This summer added a new level for me.
On tonight’s game:
It was good for us to play as a team. We executed the plays, and defensively we are making strides. All the guys are capable of playing hard this summer. The offensive side will come as we continue to play together as a team. We just need to take it one game at a time. This is a good showing for us to let loose a little after working so hard in Vegas.
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
On your game tonight:
I went out, saw the defense, made shots, and tried to cut back on turnovers. We did good and packed the house.