The Five-Week Journey: Team USA's Perspective

SEPTEMBER 5 , 2023 - Basketball - FIBA World Cup 2023 - Quarter-Finals match between Italy 63-100 USA at Mall of Asia Arena, Manila, Philippines. (Photo by SportsPressJP/AFLO) 

Michael Bridges commented on the game, stating that they set the tone early, emphasizing the importance of playing with intensity throughout the entire match. He mentioned that the team had been focused on not waiting until the end of the game to turn things around and credited the coaches for their preparation.

Coach Kerr praised the team's outstanding defensive effort and highlighted their ability to maintain defensive pressure throughout the game. He also noted that it was their best defensive performance in the tournament so far.

He addressed a question about the team playing with anger after their previous loss, explaining that competitiveness and joy are intertwined, and the team's focus was on playing with force, energy, and teamwork. He mentioned that there is a five-week journey for this group, and they are looking at it as just five more days. He likened the team's journey to a horse returning to the barn, picking up the pace as it nears the end. He expressed confidence that the team would maintain their energy in the upcoming games.

Michael Bridges emphasized that he always plays with confidence and highlighted the team's readiness. He and the coach discussed the challenges of adapting to the strength of European basketball and the differences in FIBA rules and playing styles when facing international teams. They emphasized the importance of adjusting to these differences, including rule variations like traveling violations, and respecting these distinctions. The reason for employing a full-court press was explained as a way to establish defensive aggression and make the most of the team's roster depth.