US coach hopes welcome will extend to Games
Mike Krzyzewski, coach of gold medal favourites the United States, received a warm welcome from British sports fans in Manchester on Thursday night and hopes that will continue all the way to the Olympic Games in London next week.
The US begin the defence of their Olympic title on July 29 with a pool game against France and, judging by the response of a sell-out 17,000 crowd that attended their 118-78 victory over Great Britain at the MEN Arena, his team can expect the backing of many home supporters.
“We love Great Britain, we’re brothers and I think the fans here are really appreciative of outstanding basketball,” said Krzyzewski.
“The one thing about Great Britain is you appreciate someone who is really good in their sport. There is an etiquette there, a respect, that transcends all sports in Great Britain.
“If an opponent is that good, you acknowledge that and our guys really played hard tonight. It was just a really good night for basketball in Great Britain.”
After an unconvincing victory against Brazil in their last outing on Sunday, the Americans were at their clinical best, a fact appreciated by the Manchester crowd as well as point guard Deron Williams who, along with team mate Carmelo Anthony, top scored for the USA with 19 points.
“I thought it was a great game for us,” said Williams, a point guard with the Brooklyn Nets. “We’re using these warm-up games to find our rhythm, some chemistry. We’ve only been together a certain amount of time.
“If we don’t come to play, if we’re not ready, we can be beat, Spain is one of them, Brazil is one of them, Argentina are one of them and we’re playing all three teams in warm-up games so hopefully that will help us.
“We realize we have some flaws in our game and we have to sew them up.”