Amare Stoudemire Team USA interview after beating Puerto Rico
The USA Men's Senior National Team (5-0) utilized a 24-4 second quarter run to close the door on Puerto Rico (1-4) and lock up a berth into the FIBA Americas Championship 2007 semifinals with a 117-78 win Tuesday night at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas, Nevada. Here's what Team USA's Amare Stoudemire said to USA Basketball and other media after the win:
Question: What are your thoughts of the game? What were your thoughts on the game tonight?
Amaré Stoudemire: I came out thinking that we'd need a lot of activity in tonight's game. Puerto Rico, in the past, has had a lot of success against us and we came out really focused. We knew what it would take to get a win and we've been playing great defense this whole tournament. So, we wanted to continue that and come out and just pretty much play as hard as we can as far as activity from a defensive standpoint to get this win.
Question: Amare, as a reserve on the 2004 team who didn't play much compared to being a key player on this team, can you talk about your role on this team now?
Amaré Stoudemire: I think it is great. That experience in 2004 was priceless, being able to experience different cultures and play for the USA for the first time was amazing. Now, to be back here this year, is even better. I am participating a little bit more and trying to contribute a lot more to this team than I (could) in 2004. I look at it as a blessing and I am trying to continue to grow as a player and learn as a player from all of these All-Stars and superstars.
Question: Six games into this tournament, what is the biggest difference between the team this year last time?
Amaré Stoudemire: I think for me, now, we are extremely focused on the defensive end. In 2004 we had focus on defense but it wasn't the same. I think the coaching staff has done a great job of explaining how important defense is and what it takes to be successful on that end of the court. Offensively, we've got guys that can score. We've got scoring champs, runners-up in the scoring race, etc. This year our focus is defense and I hope you guys are seeing that.
Question: Talk about that three-pointer you hit. Did Mike D'Antoni give you a hard time for that? And also, talk about you and Dwight playing off of each other on the team.
Amaré Stoudemire: Well, that three-point shot, I practice that shot a lot. You guys might not get to see it a lot, but it is a shot that I feel comfortable shooting. Dwight Howard and I got a chance to expose the zone by playing behind it, and we got a couple of easy baskets and nice interior passes there. There are also some times where the opposing defender won't want to step out on the perimeter and so that three-pointer is going to be open.