Additional Quotes >> USA 105, Dominican Republic 62
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
On tonight’s game:
(I’m) really, really pleased. Obviously we were more talented and we should win, but the manner in which we played was with great intensity and unselfishness. I thought we played like the Cadets at West Point. I think that day at West Point helped us even more as far as getting a good feel for things, but we were incredibly unselfish. We told a few guys that they just weren’t going to play tonight so we could get extended minutes for people, and that worked out. I mean, we’re still evaluating the team. Tomorrow, we’ll put it out, but we’re not going to go to the Nets’ facility, we’ll be at the New York Athletic Club just to cut down on the distance of travel, and we’re not going to have any contact tomorrow to get ready for Puerto Rico. So again, real pleased. This has been a great group of guys. When we do eventually make decisions on the 12, it will be very, very difficult.
On the progression of Anthony Davis:
I think what we saw in London was kind of what I saw in Kyrie when he was in high school - you knew they were going to be great players. It was just a matter of when, you know, getting the maturity. And he’s probably gained 25 pounds. Monty’s (Williams) done a great job of coaching him, and Anthony’s just easy to work with. He’s really one of the great guys and wants to be special, and you don’t become special unless you want to be. But he’s got everything, he’s got everything.
On why Derrick Rose did not play tonight:
We wanted to look and get more minutes. You can’t get 16 guys in, and so thank goodness these guys have great attitudes. I know what Derrick Rose can do. You know, so he’ll play Friday and we’ll figure (it) out, and 16 guys won’t play Friday.
On selecting the players that will comprise the final roster:
We’ll get down. I’m sure we’ll do something before we leave the country on Saturday. I don’t know what that means. If that is to get down to 12, we’ll get down to a lower number. We have to do that. We’ll do that. What we’ve tried to do is after every practice and every game, well each game – we’ve only played two, is sit down as staff, with Jerry, and put names on the board and combinations and figure things out, and every day it’s a little bit different. And it will be different tonight with the performances that we’ve had.
On whether he’ll cut anyone before Friday:
Before Friday? No. No. Nothing before Friday. And we like to use the term “not selected.”
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
How was your leg doing in the game?
It felt a little weird. It kind of tightened up on me ,but in the beginning it felt pretty good. Towards the end of the game it tightened up on me. From where I was a couple days ago to now, it feels a lot better.
How did you feel about your game play today?
I did my job. I rebounded and defended the best I could. That is my job.
You were not afraid to go through a little physical contact out there, why?
I am a physical player, and I am definitely not running away from that.
How does it feel to have Rudy (Gay) on your team?
It is good to have a teammate. I am definitely going to take it as a positive. This is good for Rudy (Gay) and me, because we can use what we have learned here and take it back to Sacramento. With me and Rudy being leaders of the team, it will help us out tremendously.
When you banged your knee up last week, was there any concern on your part that you may not be a part of the USA Team?
Of course it was, but you can’t control injuries. I just looked at it in a positive way. Luckily, it wasn’t an injury that was too severe. Rehab will build the strength up in my knee. I am just making the best of the situation.
Does your knee feel a lot better?
It feels a lot better than a couple of days ago. It is still not where I wanted it to be. I am still scared to push off of it and bend too much, but it is a lot better than it was a couple of days ago.
There has been a lot of talk about you and (Anthony) Davis going after the same spot. How do you feel about that?
If you are really listening to what Coach K said, then you would know that he wasn’t trying to say that at all. Someone took that and ran with it. Everyone in here is competing and everyone wants to make this team. Everyone wants to come and play the best basketball they can, and whatever happens, happens. I am not really looking at it as a competition. It is just about coming in and playing the best basketball that you can.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Talking before with the commissioner about guys giving their time and doing this, what makes you want to do this?
This is a huge opportunity. It’s a great honor to represent your country. You have such a short window playing this game on this level, and we’re fortunate to have this opportunity to play against the best in the world and compete for a gold medal for your country and it’s a huge honor. Obviously there have been a lot of questions in the past couple of weeks about whether or not we should be doing this or what’s in it for us, but there are great memories. It’s a pretty cool fraternity of guys that have worn this jersey and won gold medals.
What’s your understanding of Derrick’s situation?
He’s been doing a separate practice and was around this morning in shoot around. He’s got a long, long journey and he’s just coming back. It’s better to have him 100 perecent next week than push him hard right now. I don’t know exactly how he feels, but he doesn’t look hurt to me when he’s running around in shoot around so I expect him to be full strength when we need him.
Given what he’s (Rose) gone through in the last couple of years and the way he played a couple games do you understand what he’s going through and do you have any doubts?
No, I have zero doubts. I saw the way he played in the scrimmage last week and seen the way he’s played in practice in Chicago. Obviously, he was pretty electric in the minutes he got at the United Center, so I’m not worried at all.
How do you feel the guards play both when you were on the court and watching from the bench?
We play well. We try to pressure the ball on the defensive end, disrupt their offensive timing with our full-court pressure and just move the ball on the offensive end and make plays. We understand we got some good bigs that can run the floor and can really dominate the paint, but we need to be our first line of attack in our offense, and I thought we played well today. We shot the ball well, and it starts on defense. If we can get stops that lead to easy offense.
How important is team chemistry?
It’s huge because you’re going to face some adversity when you don’t play well for a quarter or two, and how you deal with it means how well intact your team is. That’s what these games are about; learning from each other, getting into different situations and get to Spain being a solid 12-man roster that’s ready for anything.
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
How does it feel this time to be playing in an international competition?
It feels good. I feel very comfortable and very confident in my game. I have a lot more experience than I had two years ago. I am trying to do what Coach K, the staff and USA Basketball wants. I feel a lot more comfortable than I did two years ago.
Do you feel like you are taking a bigger leadership role on the USA Team?
I think Rudy (Gay), Stephen (Curry) and others have played international basketball before, but I am taking on a leadership role. But, a lot of guys are stepping up and saying what they think should happen on the floor. At the same time it is a group thing, and that is how we get a lot of wins.
How has your game grown with learning in a team setting rather than training individually? Individually, I think you get more reps and you get to work more on your game. You do get to take what you have learned and practice it in a game situation with team practice. You get to showcase your skills, and it makes it easier playing with these guys because you can show them what you have been working on.
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
You were one of the leading scorers in Vegas and may have been one of the leading scorers tonight, what’s been working for you?
Honestly, I’m a scorer in this league and that’s my game, but I try to go out and do both - you know, go out there and rebound, get assists and just do everything else other than score.
What do you see from Anthony Davis playing with him every day? What have you realized from just seeing him a couple times a year?
I mean, he’s a hell of a player. He’s creative, he can isolate, knock down the 15-footer and he definitely got a little more strength to him. He’s a lot stronger, and he’s going to be a problem.
Talk a little bit about that stutter-step hesitation, its reminiscent about Kobe and Jordan, how much have they influenced your game?
I grew up watching Jordan, and I grew up watching Kobe. I always watch film from them and take moves from them, especially the post game. At my position a lot of two guards don’t post up, and I try to be one of those guards. I don’t do it as much as they do, but I try to be one of those guards and just pull out a couple of moves.
Did you talk to guys who have done the USA thing before about how they preserve themselves and how to stay fresh when the season comes around?
Yeah, I know a lot of guys that did it. You just got to take care of yourself like you do during the season. You’ve got to eat right and get rest, especially when you get to countries where the time changes, get iced and a little bit of everything.
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
On the team’s performance tonight:
From the beginning I thought we played extremely well. Well means, we played hard, it does not mean we will make every shot, but the pressure can be there every single time. The guys did a great job these past two games.
On the team coming together and getting closer to the FIBA World Cup:
We are finding each person’s personality and what each person likes to do on the court and catering to them. The more exhibition games we get, the better off we will be in the long run. Most of these teams have been together for a while; this team has been together from this summer. The most important thing is our chemistry. The faster we can get that we can be pretty good.
On Derrick Rose:
He always wants to get out there and play. He is doing what is best for his body, and I am sure he will play next game or when the time is needed.
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Can you talk about the game tonight?
I just think we came out really aggressive. Wanted to set a standard tonight, follow our absolutes that we’ve been having throughout the week. I feel like we’ve had a lot of great days. (We) just wanted to come out here and execute on both end of the floor, and I think we did that tonight.
What is your assessment of the team up until this point?
Well, we just wanted to come out here and compete. You know, first game more of a statement game against Brazil. We just wanted to come out and just get the ball rolling. I know all of us, including myself, were excited to get out there. I mean I haven’t played since April in a real organized game, so I just felt good to be back out there, and having the opportunity to play with all these guys. I mean you look to my right I got James Harden, you look to your left it is Derrick Rose, Stephen Curry, guys you dream of playing with, and that’s how I’m taking it. I’m cherishing every opportunity, every minute that I’m out there with these guys.
Kyle Korver (Atlanta Hawks)
On the significance of playing for team USA:
It’s a huge honor, man, it’s one of those things where you put on the jersey and look in the mirror and pause for a minute. It’s a really special thing, and anyone who puts on the jersey takes a lot of pride in it and goes out there and plays hard.
On how hard it is to gain continuity:
It’s a bit of a challenge, but the culture for USA basketball has been set. People know that you are not going to have the ball all the time, people are used to having the ball all the time on their team. We are going to come here and play unselfish, play hard, and not play the whole game. People kind of expect that, and because of that it is not as hard as it could be. I think this group has adjusted really well to that.
Derrick Rose (Chicago Bulls)
What went into today’s decision not to play and how are you feeling?
Rest. I could have played of course, but just thinking about the long schedule that we have and talking to Coach K and the whole coaching staff, just seeing who didn’t have an opportunity to play last time and why not get a little bit of rest. There’s nothing to worry about. I don’t have anything to worry about. I’ll try to get out there on Friday and try to put on a show.
Where’s the soreness right now?
It’s just body fatigue. Playing in the game, I think everybody is a little hurt after playing in their first real competition like a game, so other than that I’m feeling fine right now. I warmed up with the team, but they gave me the opportunity to go out there and play tonight ,and I chose to rest a little bit.
Will you be on a minute restriction Friday night?
I think so. Something like you saw tonight, where he subbed everyone within five minutes and gave everyone five minutes of a quarter, but that’s not really up to me.
Are you going to go through a full practice tomorrow?
Yes. We got practice I think a little later in the afternoon and then hang with my son.
How much of this has been your call in terms of how you want to manage things from a day-to-day basis?
I wouldn’t say it’s my call. It’s a team thing where we communicate with each other back and forth on how practice is or how I’m feeling, and we work our way around it.
Is part of the reason to do this is you can do a lot of this stuff now and not have to worry about it later?
Exactly. I’m just trying to protect myself, just knowing this is a long schedule and this is the most basketball I’ll be playing in two years, so just going in trying to gear up, but I’m healthy.
At the same time, is it frustrating?
It is. Hearing the crowd chant your name four or five times. I want to be out there, but at the same time my health is the number one issue right now.
Has there even been any type of doubt in your mind this is the right thing to dive back in?
For sure and this is huge just for my game. Like I said, I don’t have to go out there and score 25 or 30 points every night. I got to go out there and really get assists and run a team. With the guys we have on the team, I don’t have to worry about scoring as you saw tonight with the great shooters and the great playmakers that we have. Defensively, that’s my biggest key, getting into people to turn the ball, so I get them held on the defensive end.
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
What about tonight’s game? Was it a good way to get things going?
You can see from the box score how well-balanced the scoring was. Nobody was out there trying to be selfish and forcing their shots up. It’s all about bringing home the gold.
Are you feeling the shooting this team has in its arsenal may be what really propels success?
Definitely, because in the past some people said there weren’t enough shooters, but we have so many shooters that anyone could go off on any given night. We’re so versatile, one through twelve. It’s so fun being out there with twelve guys who are the best in the world.
What is it that you’re taking from some of your USA teammates?
I like to see how they prepare for the games, what they do in their pregame ritual, what they do in practice, how they work out. I just try to see what I can pick up from the games, and I’ve learned a lot from each player. I’ve been shooting with Kyle Korver every day. He and Steph are the only two guys I feel like could beat me in a shooting contest, so I try to challenge myself.
Head coach Orlando Antigua
On tonight’s game:
Would’ve liked to shoot the ball better, but I think we did a lot of good things throughout the game, showed some good points. I think we’ll be able to watch some clips as a team. For our team, it’s a special moment to be able to be in New York City, Madison Square Garden, playing in front of a bunch of family and friends. Playing against a USA team is a unique experience for our guys. But we wanted to do a couple of things a little better. I wanted to make sure that everyone got into the game, got some solid minutes in the game. We tried to do that, because we’re still evaluating the roster and trying to decide which guys are going to be making the top twelve.
On coaching this team:
It does help that you know these kids. You’ve watched them grow and develop, so there’s always a connection there. A lot of these kids have the same background as I do, and so you can connect with them in that regard. I just feel honored to be able to have the opportunity to be sitting here in front of you guys to be talking about a game against a USA team in the Garden.
On playing at the Garden:
It was a very special feeling. Growing up as a Knicks fan, it was just one of the biggest times of my life to be able to say I stepped on the Madison Square Garden court – the same wood [Patrick] Ewing touched, Walt Frazier touched – means a lot to me. Being out here with my country made the moment even more special. I‘m just glad we came out here today, played hard. Like coach said, we did some things very well; we have some things we need to work on. At the end of the day, I think we have a good stepping stone – how the team looks and how I see we can succeed.
On following in Anthony Davis’ footsteps:
For me, I picked UK more from the education standpoint than the basketball. But, seeing a person like Anthony Davis just growing into this NBA great, especially after his first year at Kentucky, just gives me a lot to look forward to. But at the same time, you have to work just as hard as he worked, even harder, to be at the level he’s at right now. There are things in this game of basketball that you can’t control. He couldn’t control himself from almost being a guard to be a center. What I can control myself is going to the gym every day, putting in the hours I need to put in the gym, putting in the shots I need to shoot, and hoping to be the player – the best version I could be of myself.