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May 27, 2006

Pat Riley


close down the stretch, we've seen it close in the fourth quarter, did you see that confidence translate into the fourth quarter, into late in the game?
PAT RILEY: Not necessarily. I think the game will take on a life of its own. There will be four or five skirmishes or what I call battles during the course of the game that create a momentum change. Very rarely, it's only happened in the playoffs a couple times, where you see people go wire-to-wire. As long as you're sharp, taking care of the ball and you know you're executing well, doing things you have to do at the end of the game -- we have guys who are confident at the end of the game.
Q. Third game, just like before, do you just sort of tweak things up? Do you change anything drastically since you're playing one another so frequently, so often?
PAT RILEY: You can always add something, I think, new, something they might have seen, and I think both of us will probably have one or two options, things that we're very familiar with. I think it's too late to add a whole lot of stuff, but yeah, you will make adjustments, and the adjustments are sometimes very technical and the other adjustments are just being very, very aware of what they're doing on this particular Saturday. Detroit and every one of their play sets, and Flip has a huge playbook going back to when he was coaching in Minnesota, and he's got a lot of options. He always has -- he runs it two or three times, at least I think he does, at least from my rhythm, and then all of a sudden he'll come out and run one option and he'll get a wide open shot, and he's very good at it, so you have to make the players aware of it.
Q. A question about Ben Wallace. Last series he was coming out on pick-and-rolls against LeBron James. This series he's banging with Shaq. How much is the Pistons' success predicated on his defensive versatility?
PAT RILEY: Ben is who he is. He's an all-NBA player, defensive player of the year, extremely athletic. He's a big-time game-changer defensively and offensively if you're not paying much attention to him. I think what happens is that teams play off of him a lot because he's not a shooter or doesn't stretch the defense, and he's always getting a hand on the ball. His versatility and what he does for them, he's an extremely good passer. He struggles at the line as we all know, but everything else he does just transcends any weaknesses that he has.
Q. Tayshaun Prince obviously played a great game the other night, and you talked about doing a better job against him and treating him as a great player. How do you translate that and do a better job of keeping him off the offensive board?
PAT RILEY: That's concentration right there. He follows his own shot. He went to Kentucky, didn't he (laughter)? I remember when I was at Kentucky, we used to have a drill, every day, 30 minutes a day we would start free shooting, and Adolph would be standing on the sidelines, and when you shot the ball, your ball could never hit the ground. If it hit the ground, you were in deep trouble. You were always following your own shot, following your own shot. I don't know if Adolph passed that down to whoever coached him, but he's got an uncanny nose for the ball on offensive rebounds, and he's becoming just so much more confident as a player.
Q. Could you talk about your decision to use a 2-3 zone defense, sort of uncharacteristic for those of us who have watched you coach over the years?
PAT RILEY: I think at times -- it's taken me a long time to get to this feeling, but I think at times you can use it as a momentum-changer because I know how much trouble we have at times when we're on a roll, and somebody will throw that at us and stop our rhythm. That's why we use it. If somebody is really going off on us or posting somebody up a lot, one or two possessions can maybe change that and take them out of it.
Q. You have the deeper bench. How do you make that matter?
PAT RILEY: Well, they've got to produce. We play guys, eight guys, and I think most of the guys coming off the bench are between 15 and maybe 30 minutes, maybe between ninth guy in double digit minutes. They have to be productive, and you always use your depth and hope that they're making a major effort. I think they've got some real good effort and energy out of their bench the other night. They had ten guys in the game in the first quarter, so I think Flip is making a very concerted effort to rest his guys.
Q. Will Alonzo Mourning be used more effectively offensively to bring a better inside presence?
PAT RILEY: I hope so, yeah. We can go to him a little bit more, I think, in the post. But he's primarily right now helping us defensively, clogging up the middle, and when players are driving, they dish and he dunks and he finishes. He's still one of the very best in the game at that.
Q. There was a column out of Detroit today kind of painting Dwyane as a complainer, a bit of a whiner after what he said about Richard Hamilton the other day.
PAT RILEY: It's true. What he said is fact. It's fact. When he runs up the court, he just puts his body in front of him. It's one of those annoying things. He's a very competitive guy and he's got a lot of class. I don't know why he does that. It's okay at the half court to put a body at somebody, but when the a guy is running down the court and you just step in front of him and then you step in front of him again -- Dwyane will handle it.
Q. Among your three guards of Haslem and Antoine and Posey, it seems that Posey has been the most effective through these first two games. Has he, and if so, could you get him more minutes, or is that even a thought on your mind?
PAT RILEY: Well, we need Udonis back in, we really do. He's getting good looks at the basket. We need his defense. He does a great job on pick-and-rolls and our schemes. He's a great rebounder, brings a toughness. We need him on the court. James and Antoine in the stretch at defense obviously, we'll work them in and think about it.

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