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Klay Thompson

Additional Quotes: U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team 82, Spain 76 (8/19/16)

  • Date:
    Aug 19, 2016

USA head coach Mike Krzyzewski
Comments on tonight’s game:
We knew when we first started training camp that there was a great, great chance that we were going to play Spain at some point. We’ve had some great, great games against Spain, some unbelievably competitive games. We expected the same today and we got it. It was a different type of a game. It was a very hard game and both teams had to … it wasn’t easy flowing, and both teams had to make big plays. I thought our guys did that a little bit more than they did, and that’s why we won.

DeAndre (Jordan) was huge, 16 rebounds, but also Pau’s a great player and not that he, no one’s going to stop him, but he made him work all the time. Getting the rebounds were amazing, and then Klay played the most minutes he’s played and came through. I thought Kyle Lowry just gave us a huge spark, so I’m really proud of my team. That was the most different game I’ve coached internationally for the United States. It was just a real different game today.

On the technical fouls called in the first half:
It was a different atmosphere in there tonight. Those are three of the top officials in international basketball. We’ve had them in big games and I’d want them again. They’re really good. Whatever was happening there, they felt they had to take control. But it became very sensitive, in other words, you better not say or even ask a question. I thought what they did at the start of the second half in bringing the coaches and the captains together, we just said, “let’s play basketball.”  I thought the second half was much better. It’s their game. They know what they’re doing and we have to adjust to it. It made it a different atmosphere, let’s put it that way. And for both teams. That’s why I’m really proud of my team.

Take a look at the shooting percentage for both teams. I think they’re probably the lowest for each team. They came in shooting 52 percent over the last three games, we usually at 50 percent, somewhere up there, and it was tough to score. It was really tough to score for both teams today.

On DeAndre Jordan
He’s such a good teammate. He’s so easy to play with that, not that he doesn’t feel that with the Clippers, of course he does, but out here with his peers from around the league, being in that type of atmosphere is great.

How hard is it to get this group playing so cohesively?
They’re good guys. There are no selfish guys. They really get along well off the court. They’ve become like brothers off the court. It’s tougher on the court to just get accustomed to one another. It takes time and we don’t have a lot of time. The fact is that they want to do that and once in a while, well, more than once in a while, we’ll find a combination and it’ll flow really well. As long as they stay close, and they have been, they’ve had a lot of fun, they’ve supported other Olympic sports for our country and I love the way they’ve represented our country, both on and off the court.

How important was DeAndre in the pick and roll at getting deflections and causing disruption?
It was huge.  I would say his activity that sometimes didn’t translate into stats but it translated into disruptive play or taking away the continuity that Spain normally has.  The other thing he came up with a couple of huge offensive rebounds.  He played a great game, not a good game, a great game.  We wouldn’t be playing for the gold medal if DeAndre didn’t play that well.

Do you feel some of these guys may be tired for the NBA season after playing in the Olympics?
I really think that over the last decade, most of the guys that played during the summer have had some of their best years.  They’re going to be working out anyway.  I think it’s great for them.  That’s been shown that guys have had great years after playing in the summer for the United States.

Carmelo Anthony
On tonight’s game:
We controlled ourselves throughout the course of the game. We won, that’s what matters. Spain always plays tough.  We got one more game to go and we have to lock in to that.

On DeAndre Jordan’s game:
He was the difference maker today, offensively, defensively, the way he rebounded the ball, the way he controlled the paint. His defensive presence today is something we’ve been looking for and he showed up today.

What was your game plan?
We wanted them to take tough 2s, we wanted them to shoot the ball being uncomfortable with a hand in their face. No uncontested shots. We did that. We stayed home on the 3s. They penetrated, we wanted DeAndre to kind of clean that up. He did a hell of a job doing that for us.

On the technical fouls in the first half:
We had to adjust to that. The refs had to adjust to us, too. We had to adjust to them. They’re in the final four, too. It’s going to be tough, there’s a lot of pressure on those guys.

What did you do differently tonight?
Defensively, communicating a little bit more than we have in some games. Tonight, the way that we switched out on everybody, kept a body on a body, defended the paint, DeAndre was our anchor down there and we played off with that.

What would it mean for you to win the gold?
Well we’ve got one game. That’s what we came here for and we don’t want to leave with anything less than the gold medal. It would be a great game for us.

Jimmy Butler
On tonight’s game:
Our thing this game was to play really great defense, contest all their 3-point shots, because they shoot a lot of them. And then to rundown the loose balls and a lot of rebounds, and I think we did that really well.

Kevin Durant
Thoughts on the game?
I thought defensively we did a great job recovering for each other.  It was a weird game with a lot of stoppages in play … took us out of rhythm on the offensive end but we stayed with it on the defensive end.  We were able to get a good win.

What is the difference with this team and the last Olympic team you played on?
Different personalities, different guys that do different things on the floor.  We got two lineups:  guys who can just score and we got energy lineups and we mix them together pretty well.  Everybody came tonight.

Has the run felt differently as the games have been more challenging?
It’s made this journey a little sweeter now that we’re in the gold medal game.  Now we hit our stride against Argentina and then we came back defensively against Spain and played a good game.  We need one more game to keep it up and we’ll be fine.

How about the different Jordan made tonight?
He was huge tonight, grabbing rebounds, just talking on the defensive end, finishing over the rim.  We are going to need that next game?

Thoughts on another Gold Medal Game?
It should be fun.  It’s going to be electric in the building for the opportunity to grab all the marbles.  Everybody here wants that.  That’s our main goal since we got together is to win the Gold.  So we’re looking forward to playing.

Were the pool play games practice for the medal round?
If that was practice for us to get ready for this next game, then so be it.  I feel like we are all comfortable in our roles and we’re looking forward to playing.

On DeAndre Jordan?
He’s having a lot of fun.  He was our MVP tonight.  He was everywhere on the defensive end.  He was rebounding for us.  He was blocking shots, finishing at the rim.  He played a great game.  We’re going to need that in the next game.

Paul George
Did the game feel choppy?  Was it hard to get in a flow?
Yeah we struggled.  I think our whole personnel struggled getting a rhythm the way the game was called, the way the game was going.  There was a lot of stop and going.  We did a great job, with that being said, of finding a way to get this.

Were you happy with the way the team played today?
We came out.  We showed effort.  We played hard.  Still it’s on us.  Defensively, we got to continue to get tied together.  Regardless of who is going to make this championship game, they’re going to be ready for us.

What did you learn from the pool play games that you can use in the gold medal game?
We just know how physical both teams are going to be.  Both teams impose a physical as well as talented group.  We got to be able to match that.  We got to be able to match their physicality.  I think that’s going to be important and now allow that to get us out of our game.

How have the close games helped you going into the Gold Medal game?
We’ve seen everything.  It won’t be no surprise when a team jumps on us.  

Do you prefer to play either Australia or Serbia?
It’s whoever we get.  We played both of those teams.  It’s a rematch.  That’s all we know. 

Kyrie Irving
Was it easy or did you expect more from the Spanish team?
They came out with a lot of energy, a lot of verve, a lot of great offensive players playing on the court at one time … highlight level of competition, Olympic games, both teams playing for their respective countries.  That’s what it’s about.

Are you looking forward for another Olympic title?
We got some more steps to climb.  We understand it won’t be easy against Australia or Serbia, whoever we play … two tough hard-nosed teams that gave us great games.   We’ll just be prepared when it comes Sunday.

What is the key to playing Australia if you play against them?
I’ll worry about that if we play them.

DeAndre Jordan
Comments on tonight’s game:
(Spain is) such a tough team and they have so many great players and guys who’ve been together for years, experienced players internationally and in our league back home.

But tonight was great. I think everybody contributed as much as they really could. It was an up and down, funny game, but ultimately we came out and we got stops when we needed to get stops, we converted on the offensive end when we needed to get a bucket. We just have to continue to do the same thing on Sunday and we’ll be fine.

What is your approach to guarding Pau Gasol?
With Pau, he’s super-duper talented. He has a back to the basket game, a face-up game where he can shoot the long ball, so anything I could do to make it tough, make his catches tough, playing with length, physicality, just try to make it as tough as possible, that’s what I tried to do tonight, push him off the block, just play with length. He’s a tall guy, but I just wanted to make everything tough for him tonight.

On the technical fouls called in the first half:
We’re obviously in the medal round and the games are going to be a little more chippy. Guys want to advance, so I’m happy with us. We were able to keep our poise down the stretch. Everybody wants to win, so you’re going to see that aggression from every team, but down the stretch we’ve got to be able to keep our poise, so we don’t give up those points and possessions.

It looks like you’re enjoying yourself on the court:
Every time I’m looking over at coach, he’s smiling at me, so that’s a positive. I have one job on this team and that’s to come out and play with as much energy as I can on both ends of the floor. Defensively, come out and do the same things, be me. Limiting guys to tough shots, block shots, control the glass whenever I can. Offensively, getting guys open, putting a lot of pressure on the rim, and I’m used to doing that. That’s the type of player that I am. It just comes naturally. Anything I can do for this team to help us advance and keep winning, I’m going to do that and I take pride in it.

What would it mean to you to be in the gold medal game, starting in the gold medal game?
It’s great. Starting for your country’s team, being a player on your country’s team, it’s amazing and a huge honor. But, at the end of the day it’s not about me. It’s not about if DeMarcus starts, it’s about us achieving our goal that we planned in July in Las Vegas. Whether I’m coming off the bench or starting, it doesn’t matter. I’m going to continue to be the same player, just try to help us win. It’s an honor to be up here.

How hard is it to get this group playing so cohesively?
We’ve been together for about two months and I feel like I’ve known these guys, have been playing with these guys throughout my whole career. It’s just really fun. When you have a lot of guys who are great character guys, guys who get along and who want to sacrifice and adapt to winning a gold medal, it’s amazing and it makes the game a lot easier.

Where does this rank in your career?
It’s amazing. I can’t really put it into words. It’s something you watched as a kid, you’re thinking, “Man, I want to go to a game!” To you think now, “I’m playing in these games and I’m watching all these great athletes compete and dominate their sport. It’s just an honor to compete at the Olympic level and now I have an opportunity to win a gold medal, coach has an opportunity to win his third and it’s an amazing feeling and we really want to accomplish this.

Are you concerned you may have to pay a price for playing in the Olympics when you have 100 games waiting for you back in the NBA this year?
My plan is to play as many games as we can and to hopefully be the last team standing.  I know 11 of my teammates probably won’t agree with that.  I’m 28 years, so I’m young … I think this just propels your readiness for the season, being able to play like we have and learning different things from these guys on the team and the great coaches that we have.  It just helps you out as a basketball player and as a man.  I don’t think it’s going to have a negative effect on me.  I think it will be positive.

Klay Thompson
On the differences in the international game:
It’s different because we all have different roles. When each of us are on our NBA team, we’re probably the go-to player, we probably get the ball a lot. It’s different now. We have to adjust and play it more as a team than you would, you know, and you have to adjust to your role. So, yeah, it’s a different game. The game is shorter, traveling is a little different and just a few little rules, but we’re all professionals, we’ve played this game for a long time. So, it’s not that big of an adjustment.

What’s more important to you, Olympic gold or an NBA title?
I haven’t won an Olympic gold medal yet, but honestly it’s equal to me. When I was growing up as a kid I really wanted to play for Team USA, not a lot of players ever get to experience that. And I wanted to win an NBA championship, and not a lot of players get to experience that either. So, if I have both of those, I’ll be very happy and hopefully a few more in my time as a player.

Would you rather play Serbia or Australia?
I don’t know, that’s a tough question. They had a great game when they first played, it came down to the wire. Both teams have great players, they run great offense. It’s tough. I’ve got friends on Australia I went to college with, they really want to play us for the gold medal, and same as Serbia. It’s hard to say.

Has this team played its best game?
When the stakes are the highest is when we all play the best and there won’t be any higher (stakes) than on Sunday. Expect a great effort from all of us.

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