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June 20, 2006

Pat Riley


Q. Under these circumstances when the team comes back home, do you expect the team to come out with a flurry, particularly what do you tell your team about that, what's your experience in dealing with those situations and what do you expect from them?
PAT RILEY: You have to expect to play your best game, and you can almost expect anything. I've been in these situations where you go on the road and you're playing the ultimate game and something else happens to the other team, is a different dynamic for whatever reason. We understand how their approach is to this game. We can expect that, you know, we're again going through the fire pit here. And in order to win a championship, we're going to have to go through the fire, that's it, and that's what we're expecting. And we have to deal with whatever adversity happens throughout the course of the game. You've got to be strong and you've just got to keep playing.

Q. There's a lot of debate over the years about the meaning of home court in basketball, how significant it is, certainly in this series so far, it seems real significant. Is there any difference in the dynamic this year in terms of home court in your opinion?
PAT RILEY: Well, you don't want to depend on it. I don't think you can really depend on it. You know, we were very fortunate. It takes some luck and it takes some incredible play by your great players, you know, Dwyane Wade in particular, with games of 42 and 43. It takes a lot of things to be able to hold home court, and also just to win games in the playoffs.
So whatever happened in the past, I'm a firm believer it doesn't have anything to do with what's going on tonight, however we played in the first two games here. That seems like years ago. It's only about two nights and how we play and what we bring forth.

Q. How enjoyable or how much easier does your job become because you don't work for an owner whose name is in the sports pages every day?
PAT RILEY: Micky's been -- you know, I've been with Micky for 11 years. His name is in the business section a lot. And that's what he is. He's a great friend, great owner and has been very supportive and I think that's a big reason why we are where we are right now.

Q. Who does Dwyane remind you of, just stylistically, not as good as whoever through the years, but who does his actions remind you of?
PAT RILEY: Well, he's created his own signature game. But what I see in him, he reminds me of -- you know, it's like when there's a panther up in a tree or a leopard up in a tree, a lot of times they just sort of let certain prey go by because it's not something they want to feast on. You know, they will wait for the best one.
If you ever watch him play and attack, really attack, if you watch him in slow motion, he is so low to the ground. He gets so low to the ground. And he made a couple of plays the other night where it looked like he was actually going to go down to his knees and he still kept his balance.
There isn't any one individual. I think he's just creating his own style.

Q. You've been saying all week you don't want to over-talk this or there are no magical words, but this is the closeout game for the trophy. What do you think you will say to them tonight in the locker room before you go out there?
PAT RILEY: We talked about it this morning a little bit. You can't be thinking about anything else other than being practical and basic and playing the game. You cannot be thinking about what it's going to feel like or look like.
I mean, the big picture is something you think about all year long, and you get yourself here and avoiding all of the obstacles I think is one of the great challenges of any team. I don't think anybody really thinks that they are going to make it to this final game. I think once you get here the last couple of days, it's all been about the present moment and about the game at hand and not worrying or even thinking about what the reward is going to be. We know what that is; that's academic.

Q. There's a lot going on with Dallas, Cuban being fined, the Josh Howard time-out, backcourt violation, Jerry Stackhouse, changing hotels, how much do you pay attention to what goes on with the other team during a series?
PAT RILEY: Not too much, unless it really impacts us. Everything is a story line.
I've tried to, you know, stay away from all of that. You know, I have my own opinions about it but I certainly keep it to myself. You know, that's what happens in The Finals. There's very emotional moments and things going on. It gets a little crazy at times. One thing you have to do is keep your wits about you.

Q. When you played the first two games here, you had not beaten them in a couple of years, you lost those games. When you come back here now having won three, are you personally more confident about the outcome and do you think your players are more equipped to handle things here?
PAT RILEY: No, I don't think you can measure this game at all with any of the other games. All those regular-season games, you don't know what the circumstances were, where you came from. Getting your players to play 100 games a year that don't count, but they do count, is one of the great challenges. This one really counts, so I think our guys come in with a whole different approach.

Q. Is there any way that you -- what's the stylistic difference between a Game 6 and a Game 7? Is there a difference in how you approach it and maybe how the players approach it mentally?
PAT RILEY: They are only thinking about tonight. We have a chance, you know, to win something that's very precious to a lot of people. Your approach is, you know, all-out, right now, all together.

Q. But knowing that if you don't win tonight, you have a second chance?
PAT RILEY: I'm not even thinking about it. I packed one suit, one shirt, and one tie. And I'm going to have -- that's it.

Q. Just to follow up on that what do you do if there is a Game 7 clothing-wise?
PAT RILEY: I'm not thinking about that.

Q. My question is, different teams that you've coached I'm sure have different characters. What is it that you love most about this team?
PAT RILEY: The fact that all year long, they have been questioned and they have really come together. They really have come together.
A lot of the people on the outside don't really know what happens in the locker room or on the plane or in a hotel. Players in the NBA today, it's so big, it's gotten so big and noisy, and I think a lot of them are judged, you know, peripherally out there.
This is an established team, established players. They are established, okay, they are strong, and they are settled. They had times in their career where they never were able to play together and for some reason they were all brought together and are able to do something.

Q. A lot of us have been doing laundry, so just in case you need any help -- (laughter). The question, earlier, Shaquille in these circumstances, the end of the Chicago series, the end of the Detroit series, has had particularly better games earlier, what was it in those particular closeout games and what do you look for?
PAT RILEY: I don't think it's about him. I think it's about the great player.
And being on the other end of the stick and being on the plus end of the stick, it's always about Ervin "Magic" Johnson getting 42 and 15 when he was 19 years on old on the road in Philly, all about James Worthy getting 36 and 12 in your closeout games. It's all about your best players stepping up and playing. While coaching has a lot to do with it, that's usually been the ring for me. So, I mean, Shaquille has, you know, the credentials to be able to change that and to do something that can have an impact and have a big game.

Q. You were talking about putting the team together and on the outside, a lot of people, personnel people around the league thought there were so many disparate talents that you were bringing in, certain ages, that it was going to be a very difficult thing to make a fit and get the chemistry, why were you convinced the team would be able to find the chemistry over the course of a regular season?
PAT RILEY: I wasn't convinced then. I just felt that -- a lot of it had to do philosophically with the age of Shaquille and to be able to put talent and experience around him. I don't think we have the time to develop young players and go through the process of developing young players at the expense of him getting a year old older. So we do have some very good young players. Udonis Haslem and Dwyane obviously. And we also have some guys sitting over there waiting that are developing, so it's really about now and any kind of sense of urgency now. But yes, it's about putting the best talent and most established players around him that are still motivated and want to win.

End of FastScripts...

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