LONDON – It wasn't long into their opening game at these London Olympics that Team USA's stars realized they were being forced out of their comfort zone. Not so much by France. It was the Olympic basketball arena that made the Americans adjust.
The 12,000-seat facility is much smaller than NBA arenas, most of which hold 19,000 to 20,000 fans. Thefans also are set back from the court at the Olympic venue, giving it a more spacious feel and confusing the sight lines for the Americans.
U.S. coach Mike Krzyzewski said teams were only allowed to spend about an hour of time in the venue before the walk-up to the Games. And Team USA forward Kevin Love admitted that both teams' poor shooting in the opening quarter probably had something to do with them getting acclimated to the arena.
"The fans are pretty removed," Krzyzewski said. "You'd think they would want to put more people closer."
The facility is temporary and might even be used for the 2016 Olympics in Rio. The unique exterior ismade of PVC fabric.
"I suppose it's like something you might get from Ikea," Stuart Buss, the venue's deputy media manager, told the Associated Press.
The preliminary games for the men and the preliminary and quarterfinal rounds for the women are beingplayed at the venue. The later-round games will move to the larger North Greenwich Arena, which can hold closer to 20,000 fans.