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June 13, 2006

Pat Riley


Q. Just your thoughts about the league fines for Shaq and for the Miami Heat organization; what's your feeling about when a player, the circumstances in the game doesn't come out and what's his responsibility?
PAT RILEY: He wasn't the only one nor will he ever be the last, probably. You know, to avoid the media at times. He's done it throughout the course of the season.
My approach on it is I don't like it and we have to abide by what the league rules are, and the team takes a $25,000 hit, too. I'll speak to him about that.
I think it's something that he has to do and live up to his obligations.

Q. After 1985, Game 1, you guys get killed in Boston, you gave some very memorable talks after that. I understand that your players are saying you've been pretty cool after this one, that you've been pretty calm; different situation, different team, different view?
PAT RILEY: Whole different set of circumstances. I mean, you know, the Celtics and the Lakers were, you know, a rivalry that was born out of the 60s, and for some reason, the team that I was coaching at that time was blamed for all those losses that they had nothing to do with.
This particular situation, really, it's about us, it's been about us all year long, and I don't think this is a team that needs, you know, too much of that. I think that we have to keep it in perspective; that, you know, we've all been through some tough things through the playoffs, and that the only way that we'll ever get back on top is to play together and play for one another and I think that's what the message is going to be.

Q. In your experience, why do you think role players tend to generally play better at home than they do on the road?
PAT RILEY: I really don't think that. I don't know. We do home and road stats all the time, and sometimes even starters, their numbers and percentages are better at home than they are on the road. You know, some guys actually play better on the road than they play at home.
I don't think there's any one common denominator other than the fact that they feel more comfortable here. They feel more comfortable in the home arena. And also on the road a lot of times they have a tendency maybe to stick with the starters a little bit more.

Q. Can you give us an update on how Udonis is feeling and how you plan on using him tonight?
PAT RILEY: Well, he's going to play. He's warned me, if I don't play him, what's going to happen. So to me -- he's a tough guy. He's a great guy and we're very blessed to have him and the kind of attitude that he has. He's going to be in the starting lineup and we'll see what he can do.

Q. It seems like even though Dwyane Wade is not a member of the Pistons, it seems like often he's complaining at the end of a play and getting somewhat distracted, not running back. Have you noticed it with Dwyane, and is he doing it more and is that something that concerns you?
PAT RILEY: Do you want to rephrase that one more time? (Laughter).

Q. That was too long a question.
PAT RILEY: No, he's not a member of the Pistons, no.

Q. That was the joke part.
PAT RILEY: I know, that was the joke part. I got it, Sam.

Q. Thanks.
PAT RILEY: He's a very competitive player, and I went through it with Kareem and Magic. I've had an opportunity to play -- to coach, and play with, also; I watched Jerry West and Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor and all of these guys play and I've coached a lot of the great ones. And I've seen the great ones attacked, just absolutely attacked by defenses, and doubled and tripled and hit and knocked and scratched and kicked and whatever it takes to stop them. I'm not saying this has happened to Dwyane, but over the last couple of years, he's started to see things and started to feel things that he's never experienced before.
And he'll get used to it. He's always been one of those guys that has stepped up and taken the challenge and I know he wasn't happy with what happened in Game 2. So I fully expect him to respond. He's learning as he becomes even greater; that that's what's going to happen on a nightly basis.

Q. There's been so much focus on Shaq throughout this series, as unfairly as all of the attention has been on him and some of the other players have skirted through, you talked the other night about other people stepping up; is that really the key tonight?
PAT RILEY: Well, you know, let's be realistic about what the world is about, okay, what the media is about. Guys are looking to blame, maybe even before blame should be passed out.
Shaquille O'Neal is one of the most worthy professional athletes that have ever walked the face of this planet, and he has one bad game, and -- but that's the way it is in life. There isn't a guy in that locker room over there and a coach sitting up here that won't take a bullet for him, take the fall for him.
So he's being judged right now and he'll deal with that. He's been judged before. But that's just the nature of this business now. You know, who is the first one you can point the finger at; we don't do that here.

Q. What do you guys have to do to get Shaq more involved in the offense, and what does he have to do differently?
PAT RILEY: We have to play the game better, that's it. It's not about going to one guy and trying to over-emphasize going to him because that just plays into their hands. We need to play, we need to run, we need to get out. He has to be more active, involved in the activity game as much as just calling plays for him. So that's got to be our modus operandi tonight.
He's catching the ball. He's getting in the playoffs around 35 meaningful touches a game, and the other night, he didn't play in the fourth quarter; he had 26 touches in the third quarter. But they double-teamed him 17 times. So we need to do some other things, you know, after the double team, to get him the ball. But he's doing what he's supposed to do.
He's always been somebody who has been totally unselfish. If they are coming at him, he's going to give it up and other guys have to step up and make plays. We'll see how it works tonight.

Q. Shaquille is a very proud guy and he's been judged now fairly or unfairly, what have you said to him about this judgment that he's going through right now?
PAT RILEY: Just sort of take it all in right now. He's a grown man and most men like to deal within silence, at least it's been my experience. But, you know, we'll converse before the game.

Q. With Ben Roethlisberger's accident and what happened with Jay Williams, people are talking about athletes and motorcycles and risky behavior; have you had to talk to your team about that maybe now or even in the past?
PAT RILEY: Well, I have, in the past. I went through a plate glass window on a motorcycle one time, a long, long time ago. Luckily I bailed before it hit the window, but, you know, it's a tragic thing that happens to a lot of people.
I see it going up and down 95 all the time, these guys are flying. I hope he's okay. I hope he can come back. But you know, in this sport, sometimes we put it in players' contracts that they can't do certain things. That's a very dangerous thing to do when you're an athletes.

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