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June 17, 2006

Pat Riley

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. Talk about the importance of Game 5 in this format. You guys have to go back to Dallas and win one or two games, and you saw it with the Knicks/Houston, you had to go back and win two, they had to beat you twice to win the title but they had the home court.
PAT RILEY: I think in 1985, that's the first year they went 2-3-2 right?

Q. Yeah.
PAT RILEY: We had to go back to Boston Garden and we had 2-3-12 and knew we had to win it in the sixth game, or felt we did because a seventh game in Boston Garden would have been awful.
We know what the challenge is, and we need to win Sunday and put ourselves in position to be one game away from it. So that's where our focus has been. It's all been on tomorrow night.

Q. Can you talk about Alonzo and the transition he's made and the importance of the contributions that he's made?
PAT RILEY: Well, it's been immense, what he's contributed to the team in his tenure here, and also, I think probably even more so than that, because everybody knows how much he puts into the community. You know, he is sort of the prodigal son, along with Dan Marino in sports here.
After his operation, I think he knew that he wasn't a full-time player anymore; that he wasn't a 35- or 40-minute-a-night banger. He was 34 years old and wanting to come back home and continue to do what he does with his foundation, and also be able to play with the Heat, with a good team, was part of the motivation.
So he had a great game for us the other night, he and Shaq combined in their center play with great numbers and blocks and changes. He gave us a great lift and continues to do so. He's a great leader for us in the locker room.

Q. You mentioned yesterday Robert Horry's shot in Game 5 last year. Do you think there's a common thread that links guys willing to take that kind of shot? He had said that, basically, he doesn't care whether they go in or not because his kids still love him regardless.
PAT RILEY: Well, that's a good perspective to have I think, because it does come down to whether you make or miss in those situations. So making is easy, missing is hard for a lot of us.
I recall last year's series when, you know, San Antonio breezed through the first two games, and then in Game 4, I think Detroit beat them by 31, and then it came to the swing game. For some reason, you know, Horry was left wide open, and he drilled it and they had two bites of the apple. But there are some players that, you know, it doesn't make any difference what the situation is or how high the stakes are as they just relish that moment. They can handle it.

Q. Knowing a player like Dirk can go off at any time, can you talk about kind of the defensive principles and how you laid out, what you want to take away from him, and just how Haslem and Posey had played against him, have allowed you to do some other things with your help defense?
PAT RILEY: I think when it comes to defending, you know, the opposition's best player, you're really at, you know, his mercy in a lot of ways. And you have to pick your poison about what you're going to do and how you're going to do it.
You've got to work hard against him, you have to be very aware of where he is on the court and what his tendencies are and what his comfort zones are. You do the best job you can do and that's it, against all players, there have to be at times maybe some timely help or a different look, but not to the point where you're constantly going to break your defense down and give up something else. Dirk is a great, great, great player and he'll try to figure it out.

Q. Shaquille talks often about his legacy and what he hopes it will be and that kind of thing. What about you, do you give that an ounce of thought at all?
PAT RILEY: None. I don't.

Q. Just not part of your makeup?
PAT RILEY: Well, it's important I think to anybody to -- you know, if you do something your whole life, that you just want people I think to respect what you've done. You know, I know that what I've done in my career sort of matters and counts, but I also know I've had a lot of help. I've been, you know, blessed by having some of the greatest players around me that ever played the game. So whatever it ends up being, it's not going to change the way I'm going to live, you know.

Q. What was your reaction to the Stackhouse suspension, and how do you get your players to guard against looking at the Mavericks as being a team with less than a full complement of players?
PAT RILEY: It was academic based on precedent. All you have to do is look at the James Posey hit in Chicago, which was, I thought, less than what Jerry's was. But that's precedent. If, in fact, you know, the league sort of deems that as excessive, then they are going to suspend you.
I think probably immediately after the hit, they knew what was going to happen. I mean, they should not complain about that at all or be upset by that at all because that's just the way that one is. I think the league has laid down the law on that.
But you always worry about that, you do. You worry about the X-factor. And Marquis Daniels is a great young player. He may get more time. Josh Howard might get more looks, more minutes. They might do something different because they don't have Jerry and post up or a lot more pick-and-rolls for Devin Harris. I don't know what's going to come. But that's just something that we have to think about.

Q. But do you think your players will react to seeing the Mavericks team without a Jerry Stackhouse as a lesser opponent?
PAT RILEY: I don't think at this stage they will, no. I think they understand exactly the situation.

Q. Dallas, at least Avery when he's in here talking with us yesterday, has it in mind that they have not played Miami physical enough, and Miami has been more physical against them. In this era of the NBA, what do you interpret that to mean?
PAT RILEY: Well, that adjective is being used to motivate other people, you know, that's what it is, either motivate his team or motivate the officials or motivate somebody, other than us, okay. We took our two losses in Dallas and came home. We weren't down there after those two losses talking about anything else other than trying to regroup in silence. So everybody handles it differently.

Q. When the flagrant foul happened the other day, Shaq looked agitated and it seemed as though maybe, maybe he just might go back after Stack, his teammates came and surrounded him. What was going through your mind at that moment?
PAT RILEY: I was more worried about Antoine. I don't think Shaq would have done it, Dwyane -- we talk about those things, making sure guys don't come off the bench or whatever. But definitely somebody has to get to the first guy who has been abused and/or hit, and then always somebody is going to get into that guy's face, and nobody got to Antoine. So I've been there before, and I don't want that to happen.

Q. You know Shaq, was there a chance --
"PAT RILEY: I don't think so. He told me, he asked me, "What did you run out there for? You thought I was going to go after him?" I said, "no, I don't think so." But you just never know. You don't know what's going to happen. It's too important now to have something like that, you know, escalate.

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