USA in game three, quite a prospect for the Tall Blacks. The NZ media asked Kirk Penney, Tom Abercrombie and coach Nenad Vucinic about the daunting prospect ahead of them.
Kirk Penney feels it is an opportunity ”We have to try and improve everything we are running, be more disciplined with our offence and defensively play well one on one and hit the boards. There is a lot of stuff we can improve on and we just need to work together.”
Coach Vucinic ,“The game against USA will be very tough and very hard one to try and get the win but we will just go and play and see what happens.”
Asked if the TB’s may play a bit freer and get some confidence back against USA he replied with a wry smile.
“It’s very hard to restore confidence against the USA! But we just want to play the best we can and then go into the last couple of games giving ourselves some sort of a chance.”
Will you perhaps rest players or rotate guys out?
“I think we will rotate because we have to rotate. Not because we are giving up on the game but those guys play at a high pace and are incredible athletes so we will have to share the minutes a lot more, then hopefully we will be in a good physical and mental state to go and play the last two games.”
Tom Abercrombie was asked what it feels like to be going into a game that there is little chance of winning.
“It’s an incredible challenge for us, we are going to have our work cut out. They will challenge every single pass, they will get out and run at every single opportunity and they test you in every single facet of the game. We will need to be absolutely locked on and ready to give it our very best just to try and stay with them.”
Is the game about trying to save face in some way?
Oh that’s not what you think about as a player, you go out and play your butt off and do everything you can and what ever happens, happens. We go out and play the same way every single game no matter who it is.
Is it a game you can almost kind of enjoy without so much pressure on?
I think playing USA is a pretty special opportunity, the USA are the best in the best world right now. It’s a great opportunity to test ourselves against that. We are the little basketball country from New Zealand coming up against the mighty US, what a great opportunity.”
How are you expecting them to front the Haka?
I’ve got no idea really, we are 0 for 2 up front so far, we might have to do it do there bench!