U.S. basketballers exudes confidence before Olympics

August 3rd, 2008 - 3:56 pm ICT by IANS  

Shanghai, Aug 3 (Xinhua) The United States basketball team is bristling with confidence ahead of the Olympics. “I’m excited to be here. The whole team is healthy. I’m looking forward to good performances in the warm-ups to be ready for the Olympics,” Kobe Bryant said Saturday.

The US will play warm-up games against European champions Russia Sunday and Australia Tuesday at the Qizhong Forest Sports City, southwest of Shanghai.

They beat Lithuania 120-84 Friday and defeated Turkey 114-82 Wednesday, both at Macao. They also trounced Canada 120-65 at Las Vegas before leaving for China.

“We spent last three years together. We love international games, and shown it a lot of respect,” head coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “Some competent officials came to teach us the international rules and we are now more familiar with them.”

Though averaging a 41-point margin in the practice games, the coach said the Olympics would not be as easy as warm-ups.

“I don’t think anybody can breeze through the Olympic Games. We want to win the gold medal. It doesn’t matter whether we win it by 30 or 40 points,” he said.

The US will play China in their first match at the Olympics Aug 10.

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