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May 24, 2006

Pat Riley


Q. Talk a little bit about practice today and the game tomorrow.
PAT RILEY: We did an hour of film and an hour on the court. There's some adjustments we can make.
Q. Are there adjustments you anticipate?
PAT RILEY: I really don't know what they'll do, but we have an idea of some of the things that they've done in the past, and we did go over those things. But I just think that we have to make our own adjustments. Even though we won the game, there were some things we didn't do very well last night; we did not contain the ball last night very well off the dribble, and we didn't do a couple things when it came to rebounding, offensive rebounding.
Q. How do you prevent --
PAT RILEY: It's hard because a lot of teams use their center to sort of be a free safety out there a little bit, which leaves Ben open lanes to the rim, and if he can't get the rebound, he does a great job of getting his hand on it and tipping it out.
We have other guys whose responsibilities are to block him out.
Q. Was your time against New Jersey sort of a lesson that, hey, one team can win Game 1, but it doesn't really mean a whole lot in the course of a series?
PAT RILEY: I'm not going to warn these guys. They're too old to be warned. I'm not going to warn them. You sort of learn in this life you've got two lives; one life you learn from and then the life you live as a second life and do the things that you learn. I'll bring it up at some point, but I didn't today. They know what tomorrow is about, and they know that Detroit is going to come real hard and desperate and heavy. It's not a news bulletin.
Q. (Inaudible).
PAT RILEY: I think for the most part we did what we wanted to do, and they missed a lot of good shots, but also there were some contested shots, but they put the ball on the floor more than we've seen them in the past, and we have to expect that tomorrow.
Q. The guys were saying that you were saying "no excuses."
PAT RILEY: No, I just made that point. I don't think our team ever made any excuses last year. Stan never said a word about it, players never said a word about it. I think the media made the excuses. The media talked about the injuries, the media talked about a minute-27 to go, the media talked about losing the first game and all that stuff.
I don't recall our team last year at the end making excuses at all, and I think that's how the thing was covered. But I don't want them to use what the perception is about it. This is a whole new year, and we've got an opportunity to do something, and we want to do it.
Q. Why is the idea "no excuses" effective?
PAT RILEY: You've just got to do it. You've just got to go out and do it. That's what it's about. There's a little more honor in that. No, I don't want to hear anything.
Q. Will you do anything to change anything to keep your big guys on the floor?
PAT RILEY: Well, the fouls that Dwyane got last night, he had two offensive fouls, and Shaquille I thought was pretty good. The offensive foul we got that really hurt was really an obvious call, so he just has to keep being disciplined.
Q. The changes you made last off season, how much of those were reciprocated solely by what happened in the Eastern Conference Finals, and Gary Payton in particular, what did you see from him?
PAT RILEY: I'm not so sure that -- I don't know if I've ever said I saw something and I did this. I mean, I just wanted to make the team better and get more talent, and that's it. I wanted to get more specific talent. Antoine to me was important because he gave us something that we've never had, which was a power forward that can shoot threes and handle the ball and play the small forward spot. I didn't go home after last year saying that because we lost, I'm going to make these changes. I really felt that even during the course of the playoffs last year that I was contemplating summer plans on free agency and trades and all that stuff.
Q. There are a lot of guys who wouldn't crack under pressure, veteran guys. Talk about that.
PAT RILEY: I've always been around veteran guys. They have the experience, they have the know-how, and as long as their head is screwed on straight and they really want to win, then I think in these kinds of games, the savvy and the experience comes in handy, and I thought it did last night, and I hope it continues through the playoffs.
Q. Is that where Gary came in? Is that why you wanted him more than anything?
PAT RILEY: Well, Gary, we needed a defensive guard. We needed a big defensive guard. We knew we were going to lose -- probably lose both Damon and Keyon because of the money they were going to get in the free agent market. Gary was somebody that I always liked as a player, and I know defensively that he'll take the challenge.

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