Additional Quotes: USA Basketball Men’s National Team 106, China 57
- Los Angeles, California / July 24, 2016
USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski (Duke University)
I want to thank the people of Los Angeles. What a great crowd. Unbelievable. Stayed late, full house, terrific. Really unbelievable. Thank you, thank you, thank you for that. I thought our opponents played really hard. Obviously, we are more talented than them, but I thought we played harder and we played hard the whole game. We talked about it this morning at tape session, trying to get better. We said not to pace ourselves, especially on the defensive end and our guys did that. We really played hard and we shared the ball well. To have 29 assists on 41 buckets… we should have won, but the way we won was excellent.
On coaching DeAndre Jordan:
As much as I have seen him on TV, I’ve never seen him in person. So, this week, just to learn about him… as good as I thought he was on TV and on tape, he’s better. He’s really, I think, one of the great players in the league right now and an amazing teammate. He does dirty work willingly and he does it at the highest level. I think he’s a special player. I talked to a few people on his team: his coach and J.J. [Redick], and J.J. said that [DeAndre Jordan] is as good as a teammate as he’ll ever have and one of the best guys. He wasn’t wrong.
On the USA team’s improvement from first exhibition matchup:
We got better today. I think we are learning more about one another. Our defense was there pretty much the whole game. We got better. We shared the ball even better. They’re two different teams. Argentina has four guys who have played, if you add their international experience, they’ve probably played I bet 800-1000 games for their country. Here, the Chinese team is a younger Team. Yi [Jianlian] is an outstanding player, but the other guys…I was impressed with China’s ball pressure and denial on defense. They played really hard and I thought defensively well. Our offense and our athleticism, that’s a little bit too much for them.
On the difference between the 2008 and 2016 China teams:
They all impressed me because I like when people play hard and they play together. They didn’t have a guy out there who didn’t play hard and together. In 2008, they had this center, I forget his name…Yao Ming? He was not a bad player and a great, great guy. What a great sportsman for the world and a great representative for his great country. If you remember, that game that we played, I think may be the most watched game ever by a number of people. What an event that was, and how well the Olympics and basketball in particular was hosted by the Chinese. It was an honor to play against them then and it is an honor to play against them now.
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
Best part of playing with USA Basketball:
The fact that we can have fun and enjoy each other. None of us have to do as much as we have to do with our respective teams. Anytime you go out there and play with the best guys in the world, it’s fun, you enjoy it and the game comes easy.
On the team’s performance:
I feel pretty good about myself, my team and where we are at right now. We still have three more exhibition games before we head over to Rio. We just want to get better each day. All eyes are on the gold.
Overall thoughts on today’s game:
Today, it was all about getting better. We still have a ways to go before we get to Rio. We are still trying to get used to guys, get used to each other. We’ve only been together a little over a week, so it’s going to take some time but we need games like this to get comfortable.
What improvements does the team need to make?
I think we need to get more comfortable with the ball. I think a lot of guys just aren’t used to it yet so, that’s just repetition, standing in the gym, practicing, pushing one another… we’ll get there.
DeMar DeRozan (Toronto Raptors)
On team continuity:
We have a long way to go, with three more games to prepare. We need to continue getting in better game shape and getting more into rhythm with each other as we go along.
Importance of being raised in Los Angeles and playing for USA Basketball at home:
Well it’s a first for me, but being able to play in front of family and friends is a pretty cool feeling. Having the opportunity to represent with the USA jersey is a really special feeling for me.
Paul George (Indiana Pacers)
Overall thoughts through two exhibition games
We’re playing good right now. I think defensively, we really showed what we’re capable of against a pretty good team in China. I made it tough for them. That is going to be our key, to make it as tough as possible against every opponent.
On the USA team’s depth:
We’re so talented. We’ve got so much depth. We can throw anybody in the lineup and we’re going to carry out the job. It’s a luxury that we can play around and have these exhibition games to figure out what works and what doesn’t.
Kyrie Irving (Cleveland Cavaliers)
On what he looks forward to most:
[I look forward most] to actually being in the Olympics, the platform and the magnitude of it and what it is going to be like. I’ll have a better answer for you once I go over there.
Being teammates with past opponents:
It’s awesome [playing with teammates that are usually opponents]. Seeing their work ethic, seeing them in a different element other than lining up across from them is awesome. I’m looking forward to just getting to know every single one of the guys.
On the USA’s team chemistry:
We have these unique relationships all across the board. We’re all young fellas—we’re not all young, but we’re all seasoned pros. We’re very young. The oldest guy on the team is [Carmelo Anthony]. A lot of us have come from different places, come from different journeys. We’ve all known each another a little bit one way or another—whether we played in college or high school. So, it’s just unique relationships, and it is good to see how close we are already.
DeAndre Jordan (Los Angeles Clippers)
On representing USA:
For me, [playing on Team USA] is a huge honor. A lot of guys on the team have a lot to prove. It’s bigger than the Clippers, it’s bigger than Duke, it’s bigger than everything. It’s a huge honor to be representing your country. I’ve dreamt about this since I was a kid, watching the dream team, watching guys like that. It’s amazing to be a part, especially with a great group of guys like this.
Just to be able to have the honor to be even thought about to represent our country, to represent a whole country, not just an organization, it’s crazy to think about. It’s really humbling. To be able to be out here with a great coaching staff, a great group of guys that are just really great character guys playing for something that represents our country is huge. It’s a big thing to be a part of.
Comparing playing at the 2007 FIBA U19 World Championship to playing for the USA National Team now:
It was great then [playing for FIBA ten years ago], it’s even better now. We played in Serbia that was a really good time. We ended up coming in silver. I don’t want that feeling again. This time I want it to be different. I want to win it with these guys. We’ve only been together for a week, but it feels like we’ve been teammates for years. It’s great to be around.