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June 18, 2006

Pat Riley


Q. Dwyane Wade kind of started off rough in the beginning, but can you talk about as the game went on how he was able to exploit Dallas's defense?
PAT RILEY: I don't know if he exploited anything. Their defense was I think geared to him. He was 3-for-13 in the first half. He was having a hard time finding spaces and gaps. And, you know, once we started the -- stop running plays for him and giving him the ball at the high post, he was making his jumpshots.
I think finally pulling up instead of trying to find airspace, and the fact that he was making enough of them, was what won us the game.

Q. How important was the run that you had at the end of the third quarter?
PAT RILEY: Well, we're down eight, throughout the third quarter -- at 30, I think they had this 21-9 run again on us just before the half, and that was big. It was huge to be able to close the gap. My fear was that it would get into double digits, and it's very hard to come back all the time. We got it down to I think 71-70 or something like that at one point and from there, it was probably one of the greatest games I've ever been around, part of. Everybody making big shots; you know, the shot that Dirk made to put them ahead by one, I don't think you can defend it any better than that. There's no way that you could defend it. It was nothing but net.
Then Dwyane made the play he had to make.

Q. On the last play, was Dwyane supposed to keep the ball and basically shoot under any circumstances, or did he decide on his own just to go one on three, one on four?
PAT RILEY: Well, they were in a zone -- the two possessions prior to that, and you don't know what they are going to come out in.
Obviously the important thing for us was to get him the ball, make sure we got him the ball. Because I think if it went to anybody else first, they would have denied him, and he had to have it. So he ran into the backcourt to get it.
Last thing he said to me coming out of the time-out is, "Coach, I want to go left, I want to go left."
I said, "Well, tell Shaquille to move out of there." So he went right twice and came back left, anyhow. That's what Dwyane is -- now, if there was an open man; but I think he was so committed, and I've seen him do it before, trying to find a gap that he would have created a shot, I think probably the best shot.
But we did not have a second option, believe me.

Q. Can you talk about or describe how Dwyane's mentality prepared him for being able to take those last two free throws, especially with the break in between?
PAT RILEY: He's a great free-throw shooter, first of all. I think his percentage in the last eight or nine minutes of the game or last five minutes of the game is up in the 90s, you know, so he's a winner. That's all you can say, he's just a winner. To make both free throws, hit nothing but net, is just what he's about.

Q. Are there other players who have, especially if they had that --
PAT RILEY: What's that?

Q. Well, are there other players that maybe with the confusion or break would have come back unfocused?
PAT RILEY: Dwyane was pretty calm while that stuff was going on and he took that inadvertent time-out, I think he did. But he stayed right on the rim most of the time, which isn't saying much.

Q. Can you talk about the task at hand now, having to win one more at Dallas, a place you haven't won in four years.
PAT RILEY: Well, law of averages. (Laughing) It's going to take a lot more than that, but we'll see. I'd much rather go down there this way, one game away from the Championship, instead of having to win two in a row. I mean, they played a great game tonight. They did everything they could to win. And now it's our job to go into a very hostile environment and do something this franchise has never done. That's what it's about.

Q. Do you rely on your coaching past experience to bring you threw this one here?
PAT RILEY: Well, I know I can get through it. I think it's getting out all of us right now. I can get through it and I'll do the best job I can to give them a chance, period.

Q. You said a moment ago, "inadvertent time-out," do you believe that there was some confusion or is Dwyane the kind of player that he knows what to do, or does he just have to keep shooting?
PAT RILEY: They were denying the ball. They weren't making it easy for him. Probably he could have got off the ball a little bit more in the first half, you know, which is -- what we did talk about, if they were going to try to stop him, there would be people open. But we began to open up the floor for him, that's all. We have a set that, you know, he can run two or three things out of it, but at least everybody can see where he is and he can see where everybody else is in that situation.

Q. Dwyane was 21-for-25, even though he started off shooting poorly. Just talk about that attack mentality to get to the free throw line and how big that was?
PAT RILEY: That's it. That's his personality as a player, and it was in college, and it is now and probably forever will be. I'm sure the fact that he makes pull up jumpers now, he took what the defense gave him, but he's very, very smart when they are in the penalty. They got in the penalty third quarter, fourth quarter, a little bit early, and when they are in the penalty, he's not going to accept anything else but go to the basket.
So he gets fouled a lot on the floor and guys are bumping and banging on him and he gets the line. So it's one of the benefits of actually having Shaquille when they started to hack him, they got into the penalty rather quickly in overtime, and he gets the line.

End of FastScripts...

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