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June 8, 2006

Pat Riley


Q. What's been the prevalent defensive philosophy that you've faced in these playoffs? Do teams play everyone straight up, or do they kind of double off the other three guys on Shaq and Dwyane and try that approach with you?
COACH PAT RILEY: We've seen everything, from Chicago, you know, No. 5 was against the ball on both Shaquille and with Dwyane, with different schemes. New Jersey, who I think is, you know, an excellent defensive team had a number of different schemes that we had to sort of deal with, and the same thing with Detroit.
So there has not really been any straight up and straight down, while at times during the course of the game, there is that, but for the most part, everybody was trying to tweak their defense enough to load up on our scorers.
Q. What are the chances that James Posey defends both Dirk Nowitzki and Josh Howard, and if so, can you talk about the different sets of requirements that Posey will have to deal with defending them?
COACH PAT RILEY: It's not just James. It will probably be Shandon Anderson, Antoine Walker will be there a little bit. Dirk is seven feet, real great skills, long, can shoot the jumper, puts it over his head. He's developed a complete game, so James will have to, you know, make the differentiation between the two of them, when he goes small on Howard versus when he's playing Nowitzki.
But we'll just have to see how things go.
Q. You've got three guys here in Shaq and Dirk and in Dwyane who, arguably, each one of them can make an argument for being the best player on the floor. How much does that add to the intrigue of these Finals that you've got three guys who at any given time can say they are the best player on the floor and which one of those three kind of guys emerges as an MVP, how much does that add to the intrigue?
COACH PAT RILEY: They have got to play. They are the best players on the court, and I think they have had the best seasons and everybody knows what their reputation is.
You know, Dirk has had a great playoff, Dwyane has had a great playoff, I think Shaq has been very steady. When he's had to have big numbers, he's stepped up big-time. When you get The Finals, I think it's about your best players performing at a very high level, very high level, even above and beyond what they already have done if they want to win championships.
Then whatever happens around them and who steps up at different times to help them is important, too. But you know, all three of those guys are going to have major impact.

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