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June 15, 2006

Pat Riley


PAT RILEY: You guys don't look too good. Too much South Beach, I can see it, I can read it in your words. You accuse all the players and everything, especially you, Amy, terrible. (Laughing).

Q. I know how much you kind of despise these questions, but did Dwyane have an MRI on his knee?
PAT RILEY: If he did, I don't know anything about it. I don't think so. No, he did not. So he was walking around, running around pretty good in practice today.

Q. This is off-topic but since it's pre-game, I hope you don't mind. Twenty years ago Monday was the death of Len Bias. Do you remember what sort of impact that had on you personally at the time? Do you remember how you heard about it?
PAT RILEY: It's 1986, '85. You know, obviously I was very aware of it. We all were very aware of it at that time, and the ramifications of it.
That was a time in Celtic history where they had some real adversity. Yeah, that was a bad day in the NBA. And also when Hank Gathers fell at Loyola Marymount. There are some tragic things that go on in this league sometime.

Q. Can you just talk about the job you feel your team has done defensively overall in the first three games, and specifically, Udonis, I know he's getting help, but just how he's playing Dirk and what he gives you defensively.
PAT RILEY: We're not a bad defensive team. We do have problems at times with real, real quick times off the dribble. Spend a lot of time talking about containment of the ball and help, recover, all of those things.
I think for the most part, if we are not turning the ball over and allowing them to really get out in transition and use their quickness and their shooting ability, if we can keep them in a halfcourt set, then I think we're going to have some success, but I think they are a very good offensive team.

Q. Thinking about Dwyane Wade and the way he's almost literally selfless, gives up his body, do you have any concerns just looking towards the future, about him lasting, or do you think he can handle the beating he consistently takes?
PAT RILEY: You know, that's the million dollar question I think. You know, how long is a player going to last in this league that gives everything he has?
I do remember a quote - I don't know whether it's true or not - I do remember somebody telling me that one time when Hakeem Olajuwan was young and running up and down the court all the time like crazy, up and down the court, one of the veteran players went to him and said, "Hey, you'd better slow down a little bit because you're not going to be around a long time." I don't think Hakeem ever slowed down. Dwyane is the same way.
He also is somebody who really understands how to fall, he does. There are some guys who have an instinct about falling. And he actually says, I would rather fall than step on somebody's ankle. So these guys have an awareness and an instinct when he's in traffic about that.
Now, he couldn't get out of the way of Shaquille the other night, but yeah, he takes a lot of falls, Rick. I hope he can last a long time.

Q. You've seen Dwyane through all of his ailments over the past three years. Are you ever concerned when he's hurt, or is it just if he can play, then you're not concerned about it?
PAT RILEY: Well, he's starting to take on sort of the -- and I say this, you know, with great respect -- the same approach that Jim Brown had, if any of you recall him, and how he used to get up from every hit and sort of like slowly walk back to the huddle, and sort of limp a little bit and then come out the next time and go.
But, no, Dwyane is legitimately banged up. He takes a ding, he gets hurt, he shakes it off, he comes back and plays. He recovers very quickly.

Q. Can you comment on Michael Jordan's decision to get back in the game as a part-owner with the Charlotte Bobcats?
PAT RILEY: I think it's great. I've taken some heat in this town; his jersey is hanging up here in the arena. And only from the standpoint of the genuine respect that I think we as an organization have for who we might consider to be the greatest player of all time. So I think it's great for the league, it's great for Charlotte. I don't know what impact or what his role or responsibilities are going to be. But I know he wants back in badly and I think this is a great thing for the league.

Q. You've been in The Finals many times before, what has this trip been like for you personally? Is it a little sweeter at this stage in your career?
PAT RILEY: As a matter of fact, I just got off a telephone call with a friend of mine who has sort of that perspective. And he rattled off how many times he's been there with me, the nine times that I've been in The Finals. And he said to me, he said, "Nobody ever camps on Everest. You climb, you touch it, and you go down."
So there's been hundreds of people that, you know, that climb it, and they touch it, and they go back down. And I think what he was saying to me is that somewhere along the way, you've got to look around and say, you know, the journey has been pretty good. So I'm getting to that point where I'm starting to see that, that part of it.

Q. Are you enjoying the view?
PAT RILEY: Yes. Absolutely.

Q. Do you see James Posey getting more minutes because of the defensive job he's doing?
PAT RILEY: Depends on who they are playing. When they go with Stack and with Howard and the two guards and with Dirk, if they ever go that way, then probably you'll see me go a little bit smaller. I think that's one of their most lethal lineups.
James is our best defender, perimeter defender, besides Dwyane and Gary, and there are times his length can get after people. He's very important to us right now.

End of FastScripts...

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