Pat Riley Interview
The Miami Heat (29-18) on Saturday visited the New Jersey Nets for an afternoon battle. Before the game, here's what Heat coach Pat Riley had to say to InsideHoops.com editor Jeff Lenchiner and some other reporters before the game:
Question: Against the Cavaliers the other day it was more than just Shaq and Wade. The team's depth stepped up. Good to see?
Pat Riley: We had what I consider one of the best games of the year... What we're looking for is a lot more consistency throughout the course of 48 minutes.
Question: You do have a lot of other players besides your two stars playing well right now.
Pat Riley: Yeah, we have a lot of depth. We can come off with Antoine [Walker], he gives us a lift. And J-Will [Jason Williams] came in for the first time in a while and played with great quickness and had eight assists. So, there's a number of things we can do with other players. [James] Posey's got the hot hand right now, so we expect Shaquille and Dwyane to pretty much carry the offensive burden but we have a lot of other guys that can help out.
Question: The challenges that the Nets perimeter players pose to the Heat today?
Pat Riley: I can't think of three better ones. Detroit's got a great threesome on the perimeter, but Jefferson, Carter and Kidd are a handful. You have to take the individual challenge, you have to play a lot of situations in which they're involved in, but at any one time, those players can take you off the dribble and create plays for themselves. They may have the best three, most complete perimeter players in the league.
Question: Upon reviewing the 51-point game that Vince Carter put up, what type of things can you tell your team about containing him?
Pat Riley: There were about four or five situations in which you have a scheme where you have a team defense that can shut down the first part of it, but a lot of it was individual. He had 12 free throws in garbage time, and they're trying to come back and fouling just to stop the clock. He had open court dunks, he had drives, he had three-pointers... he did a lot of great things.
Question: Regarding the consistency, is it just the starters, or the bench contributors, or what?
Pat Riley: It's a team thing. 525,600 minutes. What is that, Do you know what that is?
Question: It's a year.
Pat Riley: We have 120 minutes that we need to go to work and focus out there. We got the rest of the time to do whatever it is we want. So, what we need to do as a team, for 120 of the 525,600 minutes a year, is to focus on doing our job. I don't think that's asking too much.
Question: Shaq is playing about 29 and a half minutes per game. Is the goal just to keep him healthy up through the playoffs?
Pat Riley: Well, obviously that's a goal for all of our players, including him. The goal is to get him in better condition, better condition, better condition, better condition. And hopefully through that he will stay healthy, but he's getting there. He's coming quickly every day. I like that.
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