Kirk Hinrich, Chris Paul Team USA Interviews
Team USA beat Lithuania 111-88 late Saturday night in an exhibition game, preparing for the 2006 World Basketball Championship which begins August 19 in Japan. Here's what USA Basketball players Kirk Hinrich and Chris Paul said to the media after the game:
On the game: It was a good bounce back game. Last time, we came out against Brazil and when the game was over, we weren't happy about our effort. It was important to bounce back and get on the right track.
On getting the start: We're playing in groups right now. I know when I get my time, I just try to make the best of it … make sure our team is successful. It's one of those deals when you play in groups in spurts like that, it's a little bit tougher. But, you don't hold back and give it everything you got because you know you'll be rested a lot.
On the effects of the Brazil game: The Brazil game was really a wake up call. Once we had some great practices, we knew we were going to bounce back strong. We felt like Lithuania was a type of opponent we are going to face in the World Championship. It's a good team. We are just happy with our effort and we're moving forward.
On the team chemistry: I think it's coming; we're gelling as a team. I think it's still a little bit of process but we're definitely moving in the right direction.
On the game: We showed a lot heart. Our last game we played in Guangzhou, we didn't play as well as we would have liked to. But we came out tonight and we were very aggressive. Defense is what won the game for us.
On Lithuania: Lithuania is a great team -- a team that actually beat us a couple years ago and a team that will definitely compete for the World Championship. I think we came out and were the aggressor and usually the most aggressive team wins.
On his own output: The guys just really got me involved. I just tried to push the tempo and our defense is what gets our offense going. When we play like that, we are at our best.
On the Korean crowd: Unbelievable. If that's the way they were today, I can't imagine how they are going to be on the holiday (Tuesday when Korea plays the USA). So, I'm looking very forward to that.
On LeBron's dunk: I'm just happy I could be a part of it. Make sure everybody knows that when they show it on Sportscenter and put in the paper, make sure you let them know that Chris Paul dropped the pass to him.
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