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May 26, 2006

Pat Riley

MIAMI, FLORIDA: Practice Day

Q. Pat, is Tayshaun getting his stuff in the flow of their offense or is it off of isolations?
PAT RILEY: He gets -- they go to him, but I think he's getting it more off the flow, secondary, ball swings, he puts it on the floor. Last night he made some very, very big plays when our defense was really, really good. I think it was 75-69, we had cut the score to 75-69, and it was the play that Shaquille got hurt. He drove the basket, willed himself to get to the basket, then he got the second shot.
We have to make an adjustment on him mentally. He's a great, great, great player, and I think he's proven in Milwaukee and proven in Cleveland that he's making most of their big plays.
While everyone concentrates on Billups and Hamilton and on Rasheed, he's killing you. He's been a thorn in our side all year.
Q. You've got several guys who in their earlier lives who are used to be the leading man and now they've made a successful transition to being complementary players, but I'm sure it wasn't as easy as that. Can you talk about when they turned the corner this year?
PAT RILEY: That's an old story now, it really is. I think we've talked about it all year long. Everybody knows what Gary and Antoine and Jason are. Posey has always been a complementary player, everybody knows Zo and Derek and these players have had major roles in their career with other teams, and now they've really sort of subjugated their games or whatever. But they've done a good job doing it.
Last night we did not get it from our bench, as they didn't get it in the first game. It's taken some time, they've adjusted to it, and I think we'll be much better tomorrow night finding the shots they need.
Q. What gave you the faith that they could do it, because some guys can never do this?
PAT RILEY: I don't know, I just believe. I believe in them. I've watched them their whole careers. I don't pay attention to -- I pay attention to people who I talk to about them, who know them. I pay attention to our scouts and to Randy, the general manager and to people who know them, and we make an evaluation on players, but I've watched them long enough to think that they can help us, and I have great faith that they can help us, and they have. They have. We are here, and we have to make sure now that we don't as a team bring the same effort we brought last night, which is simply not enough to beat them.
Q. What did you tell the team today about energy and effort?
PAT RILEY: We're down 17 percent across the board, effort and defense, from the first game. In total and quarter by quarter -- it's really interesting, in the fourth quarter of both games, last night we had an 80 percent effort in the fourth quarter and we had an 87 percent effort in the first game in the fourth quarter to close that game out. So we came back last night in the fourth quarter with a great effort, but the first quarter we came out with a 67 and then we got a 65. It ain't going to win.
It's a subconscious thing more than anything else. Our players came last night knowing they had a chance to really put them and their backs against the wall. It wasn't conscious that they came and said we're not going to play hard, it's a subconscious thing because they secured the game they needed.
It just is human nature. I've seen it throughout my career. I have a hard time accepting it. When I present the numbers to them today, they go, oh, God, no wonder we didn't play well. I'm not not giving Detroit credit because Detroit played great. But if we make that kind of effort, then usually your efficiency and your execution are going to be lax, also. That's what happened.
Q. What goes into your effort percentage?
PAT RILEY: There's a lot of things, there really are. We have what we call super effort and then we have effort plays. There's at least 25 categories.
Q. What's the minimum percentage that usually correlates to winning a game?
PAT RILEY: Well, I do know this: The percentages over the course of the season, okay, if we're over 75 percent effort and over 73 percent defense, we'll win 80 percent of our games. We'll win over 80 percent of our games. That's proven out.
When we're below that, then you might win 70 percent, from under 50 percent, 60 percent, 70 percent, 80 percent. In my career that's how I've sort of measured effort and defense, and if you meet these criteria every night regardless of how you are offensively, you have a chance to win, and if you have a great offense with those numbers, you never lose.
Q. Before you broke it down, did you think it was worse than --
PAT RILEY: I could see we weren't making the effort last night. I didn't see what the numbers were, but I could see we weren't making the kind of effort we made in the first game. In the first game we had 15 out of 18 shots, so we were front running a little bit, and it's easier to play defense when everything is going good for you offensively, but they cracked down on us offensively and got into us a little bit, and when our effort dropped you can't stay in the game.
Sometimes you can play poorly on offense, but if you continue to make the effort, you can stay with them, which is what we should have done. We shouldn't have been down 25-12, it should have been 21-18 or something like that, but it wasn't.
Q. How tough a call right now is your forward lineup? You've had Ud struggling; the Posey-Walker tandem you've gotten some use out of.
PAT RILEY: They've been good. Last night we didn't shoot the ball well, we really didn't. We were 2 for 12 on threes -- 2 for 10 on threes on the inside-out tried and kick game, and 2 for 10 on threes that were skip passes or threes in transition, and so we have to take a look at that. We took four or five threes that were really contested that should have been drives. Pose and Antoine are a big part of this thing, and Jason Williams.
Q. Has Haslem's game been affected beyond shooting or are you happy with everything else?
PAT RILEY: He's 1 for 12, and Ud has always been someone that's come back and bounced back. He's only got -- zero offensive rebounds, either, so he needs to step up tomorrow night big-time in the effort area. He's got to get his head under the rim and play the kind of game that we know he's capable of playing. Defensively he's still doing a good job for us.
Q. Shaq said last night you guys relied too much on the jump shots. Are you going to try to make a concerted effort to go inside to him?
PAT RILEY: We tried to go inside to him. He gets a lot of touches. He was 0 for 5 from short range. He's got to make plays out of the post as much as anything, so we did not rely on jump shots, we took what the defense gave us, and as I've said a lot of times about Shaquille, you can't just come down and always just get him the ball.
They fronted him last night eight times where we couldn't get him the ball, and we did not do what we were supposed to do in swinging the ball to the weak side and have him track the ball. He's got to take responsibility for showing his body to the ball early in transition. It can't just dribble down the left side and throw into him. They're not going to let us do that all the time comfortably. He knows that. But yes, we'd like to have him touch it more in a very favorable position if we can get it to him.
Q. It was about a year ago that Tayshaun Prince said that he can't guard Dwyane and they put Rip on him. Why is Rip more qualified?
PAT RILEY: He's quicker. Tayshaun has a length and plays off of him, but Rip does a good job. He's very committed to staying in front of him, moving his feet, he's always putting his body on him.
Q. Is that irritating to Dwyane do you think?
PAT RILEY: I think any offensive player that has somebody that gets in his cage, so to speak, and commits himself to him puts him in a position where he's got to work harder. As Dwyane can do, also, to players when he's committed to doing it.
Q. Do you view any of it as dirty, illegal?
PAT RILEY: No, he's just into him.
Q. With Prince's height and size, can you use your three-guard lineup as much as you'd like to as you did earlier in the season?
PAT RILEY: Sometimes.
Q. How has the technology changed over the years with your percentage, your effort percentage? Are you now doing Excel spreadsheets where you used to do it all by hand?
PAT RILEY: Yeah, just walk down to this room down here and you'll see it. It's become a lot easier for us to compile. The data that we need and all of these numbers that we think are relevant, it gives us things to bring to the team that are also coherent messages to them that means something, and they understand that.
So besides just the video recall of being able to -- 25 minutes after the game, I have everything I need on my laptop, everything is all broken down, organized in transition, early offense, post-ups, pick-and-rolls, Dwyane's plays, Shaq's plays, Rip's plays, they're all right there.
I remember the first time that I was an assistant coach to Paul Westhead, and he said, you have one responsibility besides helping him. He said, you've got to break down these tapes. Back then they had the Sony beta, industrial three-quarter-inch tapes with no visual rewind. So I used to hit the rewind, go to black, it didn't have any numbers. For me to do a 20-edit tape, it would take all night. Now these guys are just pushing buttons and having everything programmed and it does it on its own. It really helps us a lot in compiling the information that we need.
Q. Do you have notebooks or paper? They didn't have computers then.
PAT RILEY: Just write it down and diagram it. Bill Bertka back in the '70s when I played for the Lakers, and Bill Sharmin was the coach, Sharmin used to tell him, back then we had .35 mm. Bertka used to go home and he would splice the tape, cut the tape, and there it was, it was like hanging down, and he's looking at it through a microscope.
And then he used to splice it together and tell Bill, he said, okay, I have something for you, and so back then players were not at all aware of or familiar with this, oh, we're going to watch film today. But every now and then, Bill used to put a very visual picture in there to wake up the players to see whether or not they were awake or not. I'll leave it at that.
Q. On nights that Walker is not shooting threes like last night, is the rest of his game impacted? Do you want him to continue shooting from distance?
PAT RILEY: Well, if he's wide open we do, but last night they were closing out real hard. I've got to get him more involved. I've got to get him a little bit more involved than just have him living off of them. Last night in the beginning I didn't.
Q. More in the post maybe?
PAT RILEY: I don't know, maybe just get him more involved where he's got some more opportunities than just playing off them. There's three or four things I'd like to do that we have to go to him.
Q. Last night you had Zo against Rasheed --
PAT RILEY: It was a mistake. I put Zo in and they had Wallace and McDyess and he brought Rasheed in. I can't remember exactly. It's not a mistake. He hit one long three, real long three on them, but what Zo does, as do most centers, is they will give players room that face up on them, and he gave him room twice to pull up and make little jumpers. I don't think that's a good match-up to be honest with you.
Q. Did you put Zo in because Detroit seemed to be going more to the basket last night?
PAT RILEY: Yeah, we had guys in the foul trouble and I thought maybe we could work the offensive boards, keep the offense a bit simpler, run Dwyane off pick-and-rolls with the two of them rolling to the rim.
Q. Ideally you want Zo against McDyess?
PAT RILEY: Well, you probably don't want that match-up because he doesn't stretch. Even though McDyess will face him and drive him, he doesn't stretch him to the three-point line.
Q. You said earlier that the team had to change its mental approach with Prince. Does that mean five guys all paying attention to what he's doing?
PAT RILEY: No, individual awareness, real personnel strengths. He's done a great job, I think, five or six times of when he drives to the basket, his drives and momentum does not take him out of bounds. If he misses, he gets his own second shot. He did that twice last night.
I mean, there are some things that he does that really hurts us on the offensive boards and you've got to respect him as a shooter, but he's turned out to be a great player. He's not a good player, he's a great player and very efficient. Smart as hell, and our players have to look at him in that context.
Q. You said these guys need to come out with more effort because of the percentages --
PAT RILEY: Well, we have that, but the visual -- the objectivity of it is that watching it matches the numbers, also. We just did not make the effort that we had to make last night that I felt we knew they were going to make, and they were very efficient, very good.
Q. They said before Game 2 that they knew they had to make that effort, so if you stress that to them again before Game 3, how do you motivate them to go out and do it this time?
PAT RILEY: How do I get them to do it? You know, I've always felt that motivation is a big part of this thing. Taking the word motivation and simply breaking it down, having a motive to take action. If the players feel that this is important, the world champions San Antonio are no longer in the picture anymore, and they have a desire to win a world championship, and they have to beat the last team that won a world championship before San Antonio, and that should be enough motivation. I should not have to hit a veteran team over the head.
You paint the picture, you get them ready and you turn them loose, and you hope that isn't an issue. I don't think it will be. I just didn't think we played as hard as them last night, and they played very well.
Q. Some of us that just came back from the Pistons today, and they admitted that their motivation was trying to shut down everybody else, that maybe Shaquille and Wade would get theirs. As far as getting the, quote-unquote, role players more involved, is that a coaching thing, or is it just the effort thing that we go back to, or how do you get them more involved in Game 3?
PAT RILEY: They had a lot of opportunities. Our guys had good opportunities last night. I mean, they did. We traveled with the ball, made layups. I think Shandon had layup, Antoine had a layup, got called for a traveling violation. They got good looks, they've got to make them. I think Jason, Antoine, they were 2 for 12 on threes. They got good looks, they've got to make shots.
I'm sure their consciousness is to try to take some of these guys out of it, and it's not a new philosophy that, okay, let's make sure that Shaquille and Dwyane are under control, but let's not let these other guys have big nights. That's nothing new. It's a focus on our part to do it, and our players have to be aware of that, be more alert, more strong, and drive the ball and attack the basket when we're in that mode.
Q. Is Shaq's leg okay? He looked fine at the end.
PAT RILEY: What happened?
Q. When he fell on it.
PAT RILEY: He got hit in the neck. Antoine actually, as he went down -- it was about a 7.8 on the Richter scale when he hit the floor. Antoine caught him in the neck, but he's okay. He's a little stiff.
Q. He shouldn't have any playing problems tomorrow?

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