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article imageWorld Basketball: Russians have Krzyzewski fired up

By Michael Bearak     Sep 8, 2010 in Sports
Thursday's meeting between the basketball's Team USA and Team Russia took another twist Wednesday as the Russian coach weighed in on the 1972 meeting between the two teams.
During the 1972 Olympic meeting between the United States and the Soviet Union the final three seconds were replayed three times until the Soviet team walked away with the gold medal and the U.S. elected to not accept their silver medals. Earlier this week Russian coach David Blatt decided to weigh in on what he thought about the game that is now 38 years old saying, that he felt that the Soviet Union was the rightful winners of the gold medals.
Wednesday Mike Krzyzewski decided he had heard enough and decided to weigh into the situation saying, "You know, he coaches the Russian team, so he probably has that viewpoint, and his eyes are clearer now because there are no tears in them," Krzyzewski making reference to the fact the Blatt said he cried after the Soviet victory but later came to believe that they were the actual winners. "So, it's great. Whatever he thinks, he thinks. It really has absolutely no bearing on what we're trying to do tomorrow. Absolutely none. Our bearing is how we guard [Anton] Ponkrashov at point when he comes in, how we defend [Timofey] Mozgov and [Sasha] Kaun inside, that we don't let [Sergei] Monia get shots. That's our goal, so that's what our focus will be."
Coach-K went on to say that he wasn't surprised by Blatt's stance since he is a Russian, but in actuality he is not, he holds duel citizenship in the United States and Israel. That didn't stop the Duke coach from continuing to stand his ground saying, “It'll be a negative from the way the U.S. looks at it forever, and should be. And it'll be in some ways a positive for those who believe in fairy tales."
In a twist of irony Thursday's match-up will be on the same date as the 1972 match-up as well. While Coach-K was fighting along the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea when the infamous game was played in '72, there is one member of Team America's support staff who was part of the team, Mike Bantom. Trying to remain politically correct towards Blatt's comments Bantom acknowledged that each man is entitled to his own opinion.
More about Fiba, Team usa, Mike krzyzewski, Team russia, Duke
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