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June 18, 2006

Pat Riley


Q. You've been after a Game 5 situation in a 2-3-2 format, you've come home down 3-2 and gone on the road up 3-2. Can you relate what your mindset was going into those situations?
PAT RILEY: I can't remember. That's a long time ago. (Laughing).
But I do recall a sense of -- I do recall a sense of relief in Detroit. I do remember that, just to get out of there and come home. Even though we were down 3-2, you always feel like you have an opportunity.
Also, going down to Houston. We were ahead 3-2. And then also in Boston Garden, we were ahead 3-2.
So, you know, when you've got a chance to put it away, I think when you have a chance to put it away, then obviously you're a lot more motivated. When you go down and you're on the road, you're down two and you have to win two, that's a tough chore.

Q. Dwyane seems to have just grown throughout the playoffs with each series. Can you just talk about, you know, how his game has progressed and developed as he's gotten deeper into the playoffs?
PAT RILEY: He's always bounced back. I think he has a great capacity to come off of, you know, down games and reflect and study. He's a quick study, he really is. And he goes to work. He goes up on the court and really applies his trade.
He's not an inconsistent player. Even during the course of a game when he might have an off-game, the one thing that I will constantly remind him of is that there will be nights, when it won't drop. And, you know, we can win games when maybe you're 7-for-21 or whatever it is, and you get ten rebounds and ten assists, I think that's where he's going to have his next growth spurt is when those nights are not like they are here, where we can still win with him having an off offensive night.

Q. You did one of these boot-camp-type things I think back in around '85 after that Memorial Day game where you had a couple of days off. Do you see a lot of yourself in Avery Johnson, and what kind of effect do those things kind of have?
PAT RILEY: Well, back then, we always had a little bit more time, I think, between the end of the season and the playoffs. And we always made it a habit to go away for a day or just to get out of town and just focus.
I can't recall ever doing it during a series, you know, but I think you can develop a bunker mentality, and maybe that's what he's doing. Probably that's what I would do, but I'm here at home, so -- but we'll see how it works. Just getting the guys together and trying to refocus. And so, you do what you have to do. You make decisions. You don't worry about it.

Q. You talked to Stan, and is there a sense that he's still a part of this?
PAT RILEY: Absolutely. He e-mails me -- we're constantly in touch, and he's scouting all the games. He's been working since the end of the season and looking at the playoff teams, basically. It started back in February, he started to do a lot of work, and we're in constant communication via e-mail. He's e-mailing me his notes and his updates and what he thinks, and I have great respect for that.
So once the season is over, you know, we will sit down and meet and further discuss what he wants to do.

Q. So he did some scouting on the Mavericks?
PAT RILEY: No, he didn't do any scouting, he didn't go out.

Q. Off tape?
PAT RILEY: He's been doing that the whole playoffs. I look forward to his e-mails, you know, because they are really in-depth.
Stan (Van Gundy) is a great basketball mind, period. So I value his input.

Q. We're at the point now where somebody is going to win this thing in the next --
PAT RILEY: Thank you.

Q. -- five or six days?
PAT RILEY: We will, somebody.

Q. How do you keep your players from getting overwhelmed by the pressure that these next two to three games will be on them?
PAT RILEY: I don't know. I just think the higher the stakes and once you get to the end, at least it's been my experience, if you're good, and you're talented, and you're disciplined and you know that during the course of the encounter out there in competition that you must execute; and you can't be too desperate for it, and you've got to play.
I don't know, I feel like sometimes you get a little more serene. There's not much more you can do. I said to the players, you can remove me from the equation. I'm just a facilitator. I'll call a play for you, I'll align you, but I think this is something that I think players -- I don't say that wholeheartedly -- but I think that's something great players do on their own, they rise to the occasion and they carry their teams. Coaches do their jobs. But every time we won a championship, it was one or two players that have rose above and beyond the normal.

Q. Dwyane said that after every game, you sent him an edit, he calls it, of his touches. When did you start doing that and is that something that you've always done?
PAT RILEY: No. We just keep following up. We spent $78 million on our video room over there and we have 8,000 video coordinators. We have a great technical staff, and they compile on a regular basis all of the information we feel like our players need, and each player will get an individual, you know, edit after. They will take it home and study it as to what we think it is.

Q. Each guy gets one?
PAT RILEY: If we think certain guys need certain things. Shaq will get all of his post-up moves or he will also get some things defensively. We'll show zones to guys. They will be specific as to when they will be guarding and things like that.
Dwyane wants it, he really wants it, looks forward to it.

Q. What is the feeling around the locker room with the players now that it's the last game in Miami of the season?
PAT RILEY: The fact that this will be the last game of the year for us here, I think it's hit, but I don't think it's hit. They are just getting ready to play a game, and the fact that we won't have another one here -- they haven't spoken much about it. But we've had a great run here at home, great fans. This whole playoff situation, I think a lot of it has to do with them and the success that we've had here in Miami. We hope that tonight we can get a win and leave them in front of their televisions to root for us down in Dallas.

Q. Is there a greater sense of urgency since you guys lost the first two games in Dallas?
PAT RILEY: There's no doubt there was, in Game 3, yeah. We were definitely ratcheting up the intensity. But we're where we are right now. It's 2-2. Tonight's the swing game.

Q. Del Harris was saying after he got to his first Finals, he thought he would get back again soon, and here it is, 25 years later. You were in a spot where you got to go a lot, and you said, "we're going to win again next year one time." Was it easier than you thought it would be, harder, did you ever tell the guys, it's not as easy as we're making it look?
PAT RILEY: They gave me a spot, I got a spot and I never realized I got one. A bad player might get 15 points if you're playing one-on-one against Michael Jordan; I'll give you 15 to 20. My first nine years, I got a spot of a lot of games, a lot of championships; seven Finals in nine years. So to me, it seemed like it was automatic.
Then after I left L.A., I realized how hard it was to get there. I was there twice.
You've got to have great players, you've got to have a great organization, and you've got to have a lot of luck. This year, we put together a real good team with some great players. We've had some luck along the way, and here we are, we have an opportunity to win one.
But I understand what he's saying. It's not easy to get back.

End of FastScripts...

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