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May 23, 2006

Pat Riley


Q. Wade was involved on the floor for a long stretch of the game. Could you sense he wanted to get back on the court, and then just talk about his performance in the fourth quarter when he could play.
PAT RILEY: He and Shaquille, I think that's the first time this year both of them have been out other than with injuries or something for an extended period of time. We've always had one of them. I just think that in the last four or five minutes of the second quarter might have been the real determining factor in this game, even though they came back in the third, we got a little bit of distance between them, and our bench did a great job. Gary and Antoine and Zo and all these guys have been around for a long time. Even though we think of them as role players, they remember how to do it at times (laughing).
When Dwyane went out obviously he was very frustrated and eager when he got back in the fourth quarter and was very good.
Q. What did you do defensively that was so effective against the Pistons' back court?
PAT RILEY: We didn't change our defense; we emphasized certain things, really emphasized certain things. In the first half they were eight out of 12 on drives to the basket, and they were 14 for 14 on free throws. We don't want to put them on the line, especially when we're in the penalty, perimeter fouls. We know that they also are a great, great shooting team, so we want to close out their airspace, but we weren't closing out the drive very well.
But we didn't make any major adjustments. We're just more aware of things that they do that we have to concentrate and focus on, period.
Q. There's so much talk, people have talked about the Pistons defense. Were you surprised it was a sieve tonight?
PAT RILEY: I don't think it was a sieve. We made shots. We scored 85, something like that. We made shots, we had guys make big plays at timely times. Dwyane made some incredible plays in the fourth quarter to give us the distance, but Zo made a huge jump hook in the lane, Gary made some runners, and Posey hit a three, so everybody contributed. I just think it was a hard-fought game, and we ended up making enough players to win it.
Q. You went to the Hack-a-Ben for one possession, just one, with the lead. Was that almost as much a psychological --
PAT RILEY: No, it wasn't. I've been here with the Pistons with leads, and when they get on a run, they get on a run by making threes, which is what they were doing, and getting back in the game. So I think if you're eight to ten points ahead in the fourth quarter and you've got a 25 percent free throw shooter, I think you have to take your chances on that one possession. It isn't something that I would make a habit of doing. I didn't want them to come out of that timeout and get a three and gain some more momentum, so that's the only reason I did it.
Q. What does Dwyane have to do differently not to get in that kind of trouble?
PAT RILEY: He had a couple fouls. I think Lindsey gets in front of him. He had three offensive fouls tonight. He usually keeps his feet under him pretty good and doesn't draw the charge. Dwyane is usually pretty good about making sure he's not getting fouls that aren't earned, so I don't think it'll be a problem.
Q. Rasheed Wallace was barely a factor offensively tonight for the Pistons. Was that something that you did or something you tried to do?
PAT RILEY: We tried to work him. There's a couple of guys that you can't let all five of their four scorers get everything they want, so somewhere you've got to do some things to limit somebody, and we were just committed to try to make him work in his post offensive game and close hard on his threes. I think that morning anything else -- we didn't double-team him, we did some things in the post on him, but he didn't get the number of open looks that he normally gets. I hope that doesn't change.
Q. Talk about Dwyane's start and how important that was to kind of keep them at bay and keep them from getting momentum early?
PAT RILEY: He started Game 6 the same way he started Game 4 up in New Jersey. He said he was very, very fresh. He felt real fresh. I can tell he was very active. We usually go to Shaq early, which is what we did, but Dwyane was very involved in getting involved early. That isn't something I discussed with him, that's something he just feels. He was very aggressive and got us off to a great start.
Q. Do you get real excited about getting this first one, or is it too long of a series --
PAT RILEY: This is going to be a dogfight. We're happy to be able to get the first one. They're coming off of that seven-game series. I'm sure that had an impact on them. There's a lot of pressure on them to respond, and so we just go and get ourselves ready for Game 2, and that's it, and handle this one as a win and move on.

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