<
>

Mike Krzyzewski praises Rio organizers ahead of gold-medal game against Serbia

play
The United States' win over Spain was 'disjointed' (1:53)

Michael Eaves reports on Team USA's "frustrating" semifinals performance, with 41 total personal fouls and four technicals in the first half alone, but nevertheless came out on top and will play for the gold medal. (1:53)

RIO DE JANEIRO -- On the eve of his last game in charge of the national team, U.S. men's basketball coach Mike Krzyzewski praised local organizers for the conditions provided to his players at the Rio Olympics.

"We have loved being in Rio," Krzyzewski said Saturday. "We knew it was going to be good. First of all, you're in the Olympics. There was such negative publicity about Rio before the Olympics started, but it's been just the opposite. The people of Rio could not have been better.

"We've been treated in just amazing fashion, and the care, the security, the friendliness, just the hospitality of the Brazilian people, have been spectacular. I hope we win, but I'll tell you what, we'll go away with a great feeling about Rio. We've loved being here, we could not have been treated better."

The Americans face Serbia on Sunday afternoon at Carioca Arena 1 in a rematch of the 2014 FIBA World Cup final in Spain that Team USA won in a 129-92 runaway.

Yet it's also a rematch of the Group A game these teams staged Aug. 12, when the Serbs came within a Bogdan Bogdanovic 3-pointer from the wing away from forcing overtime in a 94-91 thriller.

Krzyzewski has won 75 games in a row as Team USA coach, including exhibitions, since a defeat to Greece in the semifinals of the 2006 FIBA World Championship in Japan in his first major tournament in the post. San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is succeeding Krzyzewski after the Olympics.

"Serbia came within a whisker of beating us in our pool play, so we absolutely respect them," Krzyzewski said. "We know how good they are."

Serbia is led by crafty guard Milos Teodosic -- one of Krzyzewski's favorite players -- and its lone current NBA player in Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic. The Serbs finished fourth in Group A, losing to France and Australia as well as Team USA, but they avenged the Australia defeat at the perfect time, routing the Aussies in Friday's semifinals.

Team USA elected not to practice Saturday, opting instead to focus on film work and a walkthrough on the docked cruise ship USA Basketball has used as a home base during these Olympics. The Americans moved to 7-0 with a six-point win over Spain in the semis.

"You're familiar at least a little bit with them," Krzyzewski said of having faced Serbia previously. "[But] I think it's an advantage for both teams.

"I think in a limited amount of preparation time the fact that we have faced one another helps both teams. And then what adjustments you make from that [first] game. We need to make a few adjustments because they almost beat us."

Asked specifically about adjustments, Krzyzewski said: "Just maintaining our poise. We've had at times a problem with how the game is administered, and so we need to keep our focus on the play and not anything else.

"And how we defend them. [Serbia] scored 91 points against us. So I think it starts with that. Hopefully we can play our best game. We're looking for a gold-medal performance. We've had effort and we've had really good performances, but we would hope this one will be our best game."