London, England • Aug. 8, 2012
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On the Game:
We knew that we were going to play a very athletic, quick, well-coached
team in Australia, who were coming off a couple of big wins. They pushed
the ball down the court against us well. I thought we played well in
the first half except for we didn’t get back sometimes and they got
about 10-12 points in transition. We got off to a horrible start in the
second-half and I am proud of my guys because we were playing well in
the first-half, got that bad start and then they played great. The
offensive rebounding was a key factor. Kevin Love had eight offensive
rebounds and our defense picked up. Kobe made a couple big defensive
plays that went to the offensive end and we kind of exploded there. I
want to congratulate Australia on a great tournament. (Patty) Mills had
one of the great outstanding Olympics of any player and we beat a really
good team tonight.
What do you think got Kobe going?
Australia playing great and I thought he made some great defensive
plays and all of his teammates. You can see all the support his
teammates have for him once he got going. The fact is when you are
playing an outstanding team that fought back the way they started the
second half and put tremendous game pressure on us, we needed guys to
step forward because they were playing so well. They had a very
well-conceived game plan.
What do you think was your best defensive performance so far in the tournament and how would you rate it?
I am 65. I don’t remember what I did last week and it is probably
good. We had a great spurt of defense in the third quarter. They had a
great game plan in pushing the ball. I thought we played good defense
with the exception of our transition defense. They are very quick. Coach
Brown had lineups that were always very athletic and they move the ball
well. They are all pretty good with the ball and they advance it
quickly and I thought they got behind us a few times. They forced some
turnovers there, but when we force turnovers it turned into quick
points. We beat a really good team tonight. Australia probably played
more than anybody. I don’t know how much they played but it seems like
before the Olympics, you are playing everybody. We always watched their
tape because we thought they played the best man-to-man defense. Since
we were going to play man, we like to see what they did. They played so
hard and so well together. My hats off to them I love the way Matt
(Nielsen) expressed himself. That is one of the great things about the
Olympics, to see how people love their countries, their federations, the
spirit of competition. I am getting emotional for him (because it is
his last game), just to see that. As coaches you hear a guy talk like
that and you say I wish I can coach that guy. So I know that is what
your feeling when you hear that.
How complicated is it going to be to see Argentina a third time in three weeks?
The main thing is that they are better together then they are
individually. Individually you have two of the greatest international
players of all-time in (Manu) Ginobili and (Luis) Scola. They make each
other better and they have the heart of a champion. We have had two
tough games with them and we expect another tough game on Friday.
Is there anything you can learn from watching Argentina games on film?
(Pablo) Prigioni didn’t play last game and Campazzo played really
well. Pretty much they do what they do. They are not going to change a
whole bunch because they are one of the best teams in the world doing
what they do. It will be a great test for us.
After Beijing can we say that the Australians are a little bit closer to the USA level?
A lot of these kids play in the United States. They had really good
college careers. I am a really good friend of Patrick Hunt. Patrick and I
have been friends for almost two decades and every fall we have a group
of Australian coaches from all sports come visit us at Duke from all
sports. I love your country, I love the commitments, the toughness and
the togetherness this team showed. This is a very good team, and
(Andrew) Bogut was not playing on it. It is different because he is one
of the best players. What Brett (Brown) did with some of those young
kids at the center spot was just terrific.
Scoring is Kobe’s thin … how has not shooting well thus far sat with him?
Not many people have achieved the excellence that he has, there are
only a few. They take responsibility; they don’t make excuses and a
person who has done as much as he has; he is one of the top-10 players
off all-time maybe one of the top-5 players of all time. He just keeps
working. You would be amazed at the preparation he puts in for a contest
and you just have to stick with him because he has produced five NBA
championships and an Olympic gold medal for us and tonight he really
broke out of his scoring slump. I like the fact that they (Australia)
have great camaraderie but we do too. The way his teammates really went
up for him and one of the great plays was when LeBron hit him in the
corner with a rhythm pass and helping him get off. When he stole the
ball a couple times, instead of going for layups the bench was saying
“shoot it again!” They have seen him do that. So I love that he has that
support from his teammates.
Lebron James focus is clearly not on scoring did you see
this triple-double coming and can you remember another triple-double in
I am sure I have but I don’t remember. LeBron was magnificent tonight
but he has been magnificent the whole time. He is so unselfish. His
rebounding and passing tonight were incredible and he is all about
winning and he is the best basketball player right now and he showed
Carmelo Anthony (New York Knicks)
On Bryant’s performance:
It seems like every game somebody is getting hot. I was on him the whole
game, though, “wake up!” He looked a little sleepy out there. I guess I
woke the Mamba up and he responded in that third quarter.
On Bryant not scoring in the first half:
It’s kind of surprising. But I kind of knew what button to push
with him. I was talking to him at halftime and the third quarter, and I
guess I pushed the button and he woke up.
On what he said to Bryant:
I can’t tell you (laughter).
On how Bryant took it:
You see the third quarter he had. He took it extremely well.
His thoughts on Argentina:
We are ready for them. We are excited about this matchup. To play them twice in less than a week … we are ready for them.
On whether they have to prepare for a physical game:
You can’t prepare physically for a game like that. You just have
to be ready to take their punches. Not literally (laughter). But we are
excited about this matchup. We are looking forward to it. After the game
just now, in the huddle, we said we had to prepare for them mentally.
We’ll be ready for them.
On whether it’s been tough to get the offense going after the team seems to coast a bit:
We’ve done that before and teams tend to stick around with us when
we just coast. You see, every time we turn it on we go up 20 or 30
points. We can’t get complacent; we’ve got to be full throttle.
On what was said when Australia went on a run in the second half:
Just to maintain our composure. Not taking too many gambles out
there on the defensive end, stand in front; and just making shots. It
took for Kobe in that third quarter to get hot and Deron Williams in the
first half, he got hot. He had it going. And we just followed that
lead. LeBron had a triple-double tonight. And everybody just played
extremely well in the second half.
On the excitement level:
This is what basketball is about. To be playing against a team
like Argentina, the game before the gold medal game. We’ve got to go
through them to win the gold.
Kobe Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers)
On the game:
Exactly what he (Coach K) said. I am with him. They played very well. We
knew coming in they were going to be tough. They play very physical
every time we see them. Patty Mills just continues to get better. Every
time I face him he just continues to improve. (David) Andersen is a
heck of a player as well. They just did a fantastic job, they just came
ready to compete and showed up to perform.
Four 3-pointers in 66 seconds. What was it like?
On this team you really get a lot of easy shots because you play
with a lot of really good players. I just found myself in a really good
rhythm with some daylight to shoot the ball and they were going in for
There has been some concern back in the USA about your play here. Do you think that concern will go away now?
I hope not. Then where is the fun?
We probably saw some of your best play in the Olympics … what lifted you for this evening?
I was just kind of searching for something to get me going.
Searching for something to activate the black mamba, as Coach calls it. I
was just looking for something to get me going, get me over the edge,
get that edge and ride it for the rest of the game.
Do you think you are going to face Pau Gasol in the final?
We need to get past Argentina first and they have to get past a
very tough Russia team. We will have to see what happens. I would love
to face him even though it would be tough but still it would be a great
game. Rematch of the 2008 Olympics, but we have to get past a very tough
Argentina team; they have to get past a tough Russia team. So will have
to see what happens
What do you think of London and the Olympics and have you met any other athletes:
Yes, I have been trying to get out as much as I possibly can and
go to so many events. I had the pleasure of meeting so many different
athletes from different sports and kind of interacting with them and
understand how they train and how they prepare and how the deal with
pressure and how they deal with nerves and for me that is fun. That is
the fun part about being at the Olympics. I really enjoyed walking
through Olympic Park. I was kind of speed walking through and yesterday I
had a chance to go see Chris Hoy, Vicky Pendleton and Anna Mears in a
big showdown. I try to get to as many as I can.
Carmelo is trying to get credit for getting you going. What did he say to you during the third quarter?
Yeah he was just saying, let me see you. I want to see what we see
during the season but at that point I was already revved up.
Reaction to LeBron James triple-double:
Yeah I have been watching the Dream Team in 1992 and (Scottie)
Pippen was closing in on a triple-double almost every game. You have
certain players that have a nose for the ball and the ball seems to find
them and they make great plays and he is just a phenomenal talent.
Tyson Chandler (New York Knicks)
On Australia’s performance in the second half:
They came out and they hit some shots. They are no pushover. We knew at
some point they were going to make some run and they made it in the
third quarter and we were able to adjust shortly after that and push the
lead back up.
On the game in general:
They are a tough opponent. They’ve got a lot of pride; they fought
hard. It took us a while to get our defense under control and push
On Team USA’s strong points in the game:
I think how we closed the game. We did an excellent job of closing
all quarters, though. That was the big key. Whenever you are able to
close quarters I feel like we are able to extend our leads
Kevin Durant (Oklahoma City Thunder)
On Bryant’s performance :
Yeah, somebody made him mad (laughing). I could see it in his eyes. We’d
been wanting him to kind of turn it on and that’s what he did. He was
key for us.
On whether he was surprised:
No, you see it all the time. That’s the first time we’ve seen it
here and he just got so upset. When he does that, he’s in another world.
On whether he was surprised it Bryant took this long to go off:
No, we knew it was just a matter of time. He steps up in the big
moments. I was telling the guys it’s been somebody different every game
and that’s the cool part about it. He stepped up and made big shots for
us. It was a good win.
On whether Australia’s run in the third concerned him:
We knew they were going to come out and play tougher; they hit
some shots. But I think we did a great job of responding to that run and
making our own little run as well. We got back up by 14 and kind of
cruised from there.
On the next game against Argentina:
Tough team. It’s going to be our third time playing them. It’s not
going to be easy so we’ve got to come out there and play hard from the
beginning to give ourselves a chance.
On whether it’s going to be a physical game:
It’s going to be a chippy game. We are a physical team as well.
But we’ve just got to focus on us. We know what those guys do, we know
those players, but we’ve just got to focus on us.
On the game being scrappy:
We knew that going in, that was part of the scouting report and we knew
we couldn’t let that get the best of us. Our depth helped us a little
tonight; we had guys come off the bench and keep our lead for us. Every
game we seem to have a little spark, someone go off, and tonight it was
On whether the team will live or die by the offense:
No, not at all. That’s why I said it’s scary that we can be
better. I think a lot of teams here peaked as far as, we know what you
are going to get from them on both ends of the floor and they are
probably not going to get any better. If they make shots, you know what
you are going to get. But with us, you still can get better, which is
really scary. But it’s up to us to put the effort forth, and knowing
that when our defense is on our offense excellent.
On Kobe Bryant’s performance:
He played really well in that one spurt. But if I had to pick one
guy who really put his stamp on the game, it’s probably LeBron – had a
triple-double tonight, which is so hard to do in international play;
people just don’t understand that. But great basketball minds or those
that really are into the game, realize how hard and unique that is in
this setting. For him to do that shows why you can say now that’s he’s
the best player in the world.
Lebron James (Miami Heat)
On his triple-double:
I’m proud of the win, that’s all that matters to me. I don’t really care
about me statistically. The win is more important; I’m happy to be able
to move on.
On Bryant’s performance:
Not surprising. There were a few calls that he felt he got hit on
that he didn’t get, so him being the player that he is, he loves that.
He loves that type of … bouncing back from adversity. He picked it up;
we’ve seen a couple of those scoring sprees since we’ve been in the
tournament. It’s just the luxury of our team to have the type of player
that can do that.
On whether the team is playing at the appropriate level:
Absolutely. We are playing some good ball right now. We are going
against a team next that we know, that we are use to playing. They are
going to be excited to play us; we are going to be excited to play them,
too, so … I’m happy with the way we played tonight; we look forward to
the game on Friday.
On Saturday’s game:
Once the medal round starts it’s a competition. There are no
slouches for the guys that have moved on. Like I said, we are humbled
and we are excited about moving on once again.
On whether it feels different in the medal rounds:
Absolutely, it feels different. Every game is a Game 7. For me,
not being able to experience college, a lot of those guys – I think we
have three guys who didn’t experience college – it’s a Game 7 feel for
us and we have to approach that every night.
On Australia’s performance:
They moved the ball and they cut really well. They caught us
peaking at the ball a few times; they were able to get a couple of
layups in the first two and a half quarters, and they also made us pay
for every mistake that we had defensively; when we were going for a
steal, missing a steal, they made those shots; those were some good
plays for them.
Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves)
On whether it’s different playing out of group play when it’s an elimination game:
It’s very different. It’s a lot like the NCAAs. I know I was only there
one time but going through the field of 64 or 65, knowing that it’s one
and out, there’s a little bit of an edge and a sense of anticipation, so
you really have to be on top of your game and know that if you lose
On what kind of adjustments are needed in international play:
You have to know the different rules. The three-point line is
different, to adjust to. Taking the ball off the rim; knowing that you
only have five fouls; technical is two shots and the ball. It’s just
little nuances like that that can change the game at the end of the day.
The ball can go either way so you just have to go out there and just
On the style of play:
It’s different; it’s more rugged. The game can get really messed
up, but for us, we just want to go out and play our game. I think if we
do that we have the best chance to win. We don’t want to get sucked into
what other people are doing.
On his confidence level:
On whether there is a rivalry forming with Argentina:
It’s somewhat of a rivalry. I definitely think so. This will be our
third time playing them in the last two or three weeks. We’ve got to get
out to a good start. They are going to have their crowd behind them and
we’ve got to come out and impose our will.
On how it would feel to win the gold:
It would be huge. This is what we come here for: to win and to represent our country. That’s why we play.
On how important Bryant’s contribution was:
We are lucky enough to have a team that is deep enough to where we
have a lot of different guys who can go off like that. Kobe defends
usually the best player every night we play, so it’s great to see him
get going but he could do that every night. But our team is so deep that
it doesn’t call for him to do that every night.
On playing at another level whenever teams get close:
That’s what makes our team so special. The other level we can do
is defensively. Everybody sees the shots go in, they scream and they
love. But our defense is what leads to those type plays.
On the atmosphere in the medal rounds:
Everybody is playing with a little more sense of urgency. It’s win
or go home. They moved to a different venue; it’s more like an arena
now, and it’s exciting.
On whether it takes an adjustment to get use to a new arena:
No, we’ve all been playing this game long enough to adjust pretty quickly.