Additional Quotes >> USA 114, Finland 55
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
Give a few comments about tonight’s game?
Congratulations to Finland. They played hard for forty minutes, we played hard for forty minutes. We’re more talented, but I thought the effort for both teams was at a high level. Our defense was outstanding, forcing 31 turnovers and only give up I think five assists, I just thought our guys played very hard the whole time. We won by a lot of points, but I think Finland is a good team. I think they are a well coached (team). Their fans were terrific. What a nice atmosphere, and it was an honor to play them.
When you were fifty points ahead, Derrick Rose was so angry after losing the ball. Is this the kind of spirit, attitude you’re looking for in your men?
Very good observation. For us, we went in to the second and said don’t play the score, just keep into it, be sharp. We’re not looking to win by a certain number of points, but let’s stay sharp. Derrick showed some great signs tonight. Getting him extra minutes, he’s more sharp, and he was angry with himself, which is good. He has high standards. He played well, and then that one play he got pretty mad at himself.
Tomorrow you play Turkey. They had a tough game against New Zealand but got the win. What are your thoughts about tomorrow’s game?
We’ll study them more tonight. I did watch the game, and I’ve always been impressed with Turkey. They play great basketball. We had a great game against them in ‘10 in Istanbul. I think they are well coached. They didn’t seem to hit shots, and then all of sudden they showed great heart. To come back from 11 points down with four minutes to go and win, that takes a lot. Hopefully, we’ll be ready for them. We certainly respect them, and they’re really good players. (Amer) Asik didn’t play as much this afternoon, but we expect him to play a little bit more tomorrow.
Could you talk about your defense in the second quarter and right before the end of the first quarter you called a timeout, what did you talk about it that huddle.
What we try to do at the end of quarters is get two-for-ones, and you have two timeouts in a half, and the only way to stop the clock if they did score is to call a timeout and that gives us a chance to get another possession in. We’re just trying to work on those things as group right now in international play.
(Defense in the second quarter) Yeah, it was great. I thought our defensive effort throughout was great. We were up by 42 points at halftime and for our guys to play that hard in the second half was actually better then what they did in the second quarter, because most groups would just kind of take it easy. Although Finland kept fighting, so I think that forced our guys to do that, too. But we played great defense in the second quarter.
USA assistant coach Tom Thibodeau (Chicago Bulls)
On the second quarter defense that held Finland to two points and no field goals:
Our entire team, the challenge is to see how good we can become in all areas. They (Finland) spread you out, and they can attack and they can shoot. Our ball pressure was very good and challenging shots was great, so it was a terrific quarter. I believe it was 29-2. The ball pressure was great, challenging shots, finishing our defense, guys being tied together. It was a terrific quarter for us.
DeMarcus Cousins (Sacramento Kings)
On the game:
I think we did a great job, especially on the intensity. We kept constant pressure throughout the game. We never really let up, and you could tell by the score. I think we did a good job. There are still some things we need to improve on, but overall I think we did a pretty good job.
On the second quarter defense:
It just showed intensity as a group, our pressure as a group. We kind of let up in the fourth, we let them get a couple of baskets, so that’s a mistake on us. We still got time to improve, but overall I thought it was a great performance.
How did you feel personally in your first National Team game? Were you nervous, excited?
A little of both. It was my first time playing on the National Team, and it was a fun experience. I’m ready for the next game and to come out and have the same type of performance.
Stephen Curry (Golden State Warriors)
Do you realize on the court that you had a run going like you did in the second quarter?
Yeah, our coaches were encouraging us to keep up that effort by telling us at every timeout, every dead ball that they only had two points or whatever. That’s just motivation to keep doing what we’re doing. Defense is going to be the key for us throughout this tournament. We’re going to make shots. We’re going to miss some shots. It’s just a matter of how our effort on defense is every night to get to where we want to go.
What did you think of the Finnish crowd?
It was awesome. They were energetic regardless of the score. Seemed like every basket Finland made, it was a game winner. That’s the beauty of the World Cup and it being here in Spain. A lot of teams and fans can travel here and support them. It brings a great atmosphere and one we love to play in even if it was sort of quiet when we scored, it definitely amps you up to play in front of great crowd like that, who is so invested in the game.
Is this group finally comfortable with each other?
We still can play a little bit better on the offensive end. Tonight our defense was just outstanding from start to finish and forcing them into tough shots. We knew they like to shoot a lot of threes, so trying to take that away from them was the game plan going in. We did that. Now it’s just trying to repeat that. We haven’t played back to back games. We have to bring that same energy and effort against a good Turkish team that we have a lot of history with from 2010. (I’m) looking forward to it.
Anthony Davis (New Orleans Pelicans)
On the game:
Great game. We just tried to do what we do. Offensively, whether it was scoring the ball, or getting into the post, or whatever, we just try to make sure to get the win.
On how you defended:
I think we were ok. In that second half, we came out kind of loose, and they had a couple wide-open layups at the basket and couple of open shots. We got to make sure we play defense like we did in that second quarter.
Thoughts on the big Finnish crowd:
Finland’s got a great fan base. We were just talking about it on the bench. They were up rooting for their team the whole forty minutes. They are going to carry them a long way.
What did you think of your own performance today?
I could have got more rebounds. I had a couple looks I should have made, but it’s about getting better, using these games to get better. Make sure I do what’s best for the team; do whatever I have to do to get the win.
How do you like playing FIBA Basketball?
I love playing international basketball, especially for USA. It’s been a great experience for me.
On being one step closer to the gold medal:
We got another game tomorrow. We got to worry about that game. We have to take it a game at a time.
Is the goal to win the gold medal?
Of course, but we know we have a lot of teams in the way of that, a lot of great teams, and we have to come out and approach these games the same way.
Kenneth Faried (Denver Nuggets)
What about the team’s play tonight?
We just got after it. We played together as a team, and we wanted to win this game. We wanted to come out and make a statement basically and tell the World Cup that the USA is for real, and even though we’re the youngest team in here, we’re going to play together and get after it.
On the difference between playing in the NBA and in the World Cup?
A lot of travels. We need to catch the ball first and then dribble, because we traveled a lot. But in the U.S. it’s not a walk, so it’s a hard transition, but we’ll get used to it. We’re starting to get used to it. We didn’t get as many travels as we did in our exhibition games we played, but we still had a lot.
Talk about the intensity to start the game:
The intensity was high. We wanted to get after it. We wanted set a tone early, and it really did show that the USA means business and we’re not backing down from anyone.
Seemed like the defense was get its hands on balls, causing deflections and getting fast break transitions, how important is that?
Yeah, that’s very important. We’ve got to get deflections. We’ve got to get rebounds. We’ve got to do all the little things – dive on the court for loose balls and look for open teammates. That’s what we did tonight, we looked for open guys, got guys in rhythm their shots, got some guys on post ups, and we just had fun.
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
On the USA’s depth:
That’s the beauty of it. That’s why I just said we don’t pace ourselves. We go out there with the same intensity, from the beginning of the game. And guys come off the bench and do the same thing. That’s the beauty of this team. We got ten, twelve solid guys that.
Mason Plumlee (Brooklyn Nets)
On the USA getting called for traveling:
We are building habits. We are becoming a team ourselves. Every opportunity we get to play together is us working on our game, so we can’t be concerned with that.
On tomorrow’s game against Turkey:
We haven’t looked at any film yet. We were focused on Finland. They were a good team, so we had to put all our attention on them.
How did you think it went tonight?
It felt good. I’m just trying to get games under my belt. We came out there, and did what we are supposed to do, play hard, play well together, and we played good basketball today.
About your dunk
If the opportunity is there, I’m always going to dunk the ball. The lane was open, and I decided to up and dunk, but the dunk wasn’t the game. We came out and played good defense, and we came out with the victory.
How do you find Bilbao?
I didn’t get a chance to really go out yet. I’ve been in the room trying to get rest, but tonight probably I’m going to get something to eat somewhere.
are willing to go out there and contribute in any type of way.
Klay Thompson (Golden State Warriors)
Give a few comments about tonight’s game?
First off, it was great. We came out, and I’ve got to give credit to the starters, they came out and put the pressure on and played with great energy. With this team I feel like if we play with great energy, play unselfish, you know, we’re pretty hard to beat.
Can you explain the difference between playing in a NBA playoff game and the game today, and how you got the open shots.
Honestly, it wasn’t that much different. The atmosphere, I don’t know if we’ll play in front of a better crowd than that the rest of the tournament. Like coach said, Finland was going to come out and show its support, and they shocked me, so I have to give a shout out to their crowd. That was impressive. I’ve never played in front of a crowd like that. That was fun. It’s easy playing for this team because I play for the Warriors, me and Steph (Curry), and teams try and key on us. But when I play with four other guys on the floor who are just as good as me if not better, it makes my job easy. I get so many open looks, you know. I do what I do best and that’s just catch and shoot. If I do that and play defense like I can, I’m a good addition to this team.
You said your confidence is rising. How does it feel to get this first win, to get 18 points?
It feels great. There are always going to be nerves in the first game. It really felt good to go there and see the ball go in a lot. It’s nice that the 3-point line is a couple feet closer. It makes my job easier. Hopefully we can just carry this momentum. Tomorrow, we’re facing a good Turkey team. They’ve got one of the better defensive centers in this tourney in Amir, and they’ve got some great EuroLeague players, so it’s going to be a tall task for us. But if we come out and play hard like we did tonight, we should be successful.
On a couple of your turnovers you got up in the air and committed a turnover, but then right after you made a shot. Are you more focused when you get upset at yourself?
Yeah, that was a very unfundamental play. You can’t do that. You learn that as a kid to jump stop and then make the play. Over my years playing basketball I’ve learned to be a continuous player. You can’t hang your head after you make a turnover because its going to effect you the next few possession. Basketball is a long game and it’s a lot of possessions, so you just have to take it one possession at a time. You’re going to make mistakes; it’s just about responding. I’m still trying to work on my game off the pick-and-roll, and I thought I did a decent job of that tonight.
Coach Krzyzewski: He’s pretty focused all the time. He doesn’t need a turnover to get him focused. He’s focused all the time. He’s a great player.