Russia's Sport-Express newspaper published an article on June 27, describing the national team's performance against Great Britain in an exhibition game played in San Antonio on June 25. In addition to recapping Russia's win, Sport-Express reporter Anton Solomin chatted with head coach David Blatt about the team's opportunity to train at the Spurs' practice facility in preparation for their upcoming Olympic qualifying tournament.
Here's a partial translation of the Blatt interview (link to original article here):
S: Were there fans at the game?
B: Maybe a couple hundred. Some locals, NBA scouts, as well as family and friends.
S: Has the team struggled with jetlag?
B: It was difficult at first. We have very little time to prepare. The day after flying over we began living and practicing on local time. Sudden time zone changes [There's a 9-hour difference between Moscow and San Antonio] are difficult to overcome, but in the past three days I've noticed improvement, and can say now that the acclimation process is fully behind us.
S: Are the players physically fit? Are they all healthy and uninjured?
B: Thankfully, yes.
S: Have you enjoyed the opportunity to hold practices at the San Antonio Spurs' facility?
B: It's incredible! I've never seen better training facilities in my entire career! Spurs' staff take care of everything we could possibly need. That's what it means to be hosted by an NBA team.
S: How did it come about that one of the best teams in the world allowed a foreign team to use their training facility?
B: This training camp is the brainchild of our general manager, who took care of all the organizational details. I personally know head coach Gregg Popovich, his assistants, as well as the team management. As a result, I knew that the Spurs would be open to hosting us. Indeed, everything has been amazing. The conditions for our team could not be any better.
S: You're telling me that four-time NBA champion Popovich and his staff took time out of their offseason to make sure the Russian national team was taken care of during its time in San Antonio?
B: They didn't just make sure we were taken care of - they've personally been here the whole time. Our coaching staff even got to have dinner with the Spurs' front office. What a great evening.
S: Between getting enough sleep and the many practices, did the players have a chance to check out San Antonio?
B: They've had a few chances, but not many. You've got to remember that we're not here as tourists, so checking out the sights is not a priority. Work comes first.