Exhibition Game 4 - Team USA vs. Canada:
Gregg Popovich (USA and San Antonio Spurs head coach)
The USA winning after a loss:
They learned that in this competition, you can’t take nights off. It’s one and done. So, like I say, we are learning a lot. This group has never been together before and had a lot to learn. We still have a lot to learn, but game by game, practice by practice trying to figure it out. And, tonight was another good lesson to realize what the mindset has to be going into these games – how physical they are, how you have to sustain the energy for forty minutes. They are doing a great job of just paying attention, not talking to the referees and worried about a bad call or anything like that. It’s coming along, but as I said, there is a lot of improvement we can make, and that’s a good thing. I think we got good potential there to continue to execute better than we are now. So, we competed. That wasn’t a problem, but still execution takes time and guys have to get used to each other. You have to practice, which is kind of difficult as you move forward in this competition. So, the games in a way are practices also, in the sense that you have to try to be as good at what you are trying to get accomplished as possible.
How encouraged are you by Myles Turner’s play?
He’s been really consistent for us under the bucket, defensively, rebounding-wise. He’s understands his role really well, and he fits with everybody else. So, he’s done a good job.
On Jaylen Brown:
Jaylen, he’s just a hard-nose player. He understands what has to be done. He doesn’t care about anything, except playing with his teammates, winning, playing aggressively all the time, and he’s consistent in that regard. He does it all the time. He’s confident in his shot. He’s tough underneath. So, he’s been one of our more consistent players, along with Myles.
What impact has Donovan Mitchell had?
He’s a real congenial, easy to like young player. Again, he’s selfless. He wants to do the right thing. He probably, in some situations, tries to do more than he needs to, actually, because he feels a responsibility to do it. But, all these guys get along well. Off the court, they enjoy each other, and that’s what we try to do in putting the team together, have guys that we thought would be good teammates. And, fortunately, that’s turned out to be the case.
Jaylen Brown (Boston Celtics)
On the USA’s defense:
I think today was a good start in the right direction. I think that is where we are going to hang our hat, the defensive intensity and pressure. So, it was good to see it tonight....
Donovan Mitchell (Utah Jazz)
On the game:
I think our overall activity was the biggest thing, just continuing to find ways to defend. We held them to a nine point quarter. I think that is one thing that really set the tone from the start of the game.
Did the team get the preparation it needed during the exhibition games?
I think so. Obviously, you want to win them all, but I think we learned so much. That’s huge. We are continuing to build and build.
Kemba Walker (Boston Celtics)
On the intensity of the game and in particular your defensive pressure?
That’s what we had to do. That was our main focus coming into tonight’s game. We wanted to be intense, and we wanted to be serious – try our best just to get into the basketball and press as much as possible. I thought we did a great job tonight.
Do you feel like you’re finally ready for this thing to start?
We’re getting better as the days go on. We still have some work to do to continue to get better. I think we’re taking the right steps, the right direction.