Brendan Prunty of the Star-Ledger scored a mini-interview
with a healthy-looking Pat Riley who emerged from "hiding" to scout college basketball prospects at the Garden in New York for the Big East tournament. Riley supports Spoelstra, admits the Heat needs a center and isn't too worried if the Heat get a lower seeding and home-court advantage is lost.
Riley should win Executive of the Year for what he did this summer and I don't think he needs to come out and make statements to the media supporting his coach during every mini-crisis this season. But shouldn't he be in Miami to personally oversee the operations instead of scouting players the Heat likely won't draft? Not only won't the Heat have many picks for a while thanks to the LeBron and Bosh sign-and-trades but they've shown a willingness to give away picks in order to shoehorn in more veterans into the roster.
There's a point in time where even the Emperor had to leave his palace and check on things at the new Death Star and make sure Darth Vader understood what the consequences were if he failed. (Update - Apparently, Riley was indeed at the AA Arena for the Chicago Bulls loss and shared some wine with Spoelstra in his office to discuss what ails the Heat. So this appears to have been a quick trip to New York.)
Anyway, here's his comments...
So what’s wrong with your guys?:
"Hey, look, tough times are good times for me. But don’t make me go there today. You know what’s going to happen if I do that? In New York, if I didn’t create a crisis with the Knicks, the crisis was created for us. In Miami, it needs me to help it along just by opening my mouth."
Did you look online this morning? There was yet another headline about Erik Spoelstra’s job security.
"Write it off. Write it off. It’s the media being neurotic. It’s their need to make a story, create a story, and make that story come true. And that ain’t going to happen. Write it off. We’re just in a tough time right now, we’ll get through it."
It’s not so much a tough time as it is remembering to play basketball in the last minute of these close games, instead of that iso garbage you keep resorting to? Anyone can defend that.
"I know they’ll get it. But everyone has to overreact to things right now. We’re going through some tough times and we will get through it. It’s like anything else, like I always say, the playoffs will tell. Everything else now is just rhetoric. And we’re getting ready for that time. And I don’t really care what position we play from."
That’s easy to say now, but you’d like to have a Game 7 at home in the second round against Chicago.
"No. You know what? Do you remember the game we had to win (Game 6) in Indiana after we blew (Game 5 in 1994) here? Everybody had us buried. Sometimes those road games are the best — they define you as a team."
Maybe you and Donnie (Walsh) can reminisce about that one when he comes by later, along with your possible 3-6 matchup.
(Laughs) "I doubt it. Donnie probably still thinks I’m Hannibal Lecter."
He’s done some quick work with this place, eh? They may be one functional, defensive big away from taking a major step.
"But in the meantime, you do what you can do. It’s like us — we need a big, and we’ll get it. We won’t get it this year, but we’ll get it. But this is a good (Knicks) team. Donnie has done a really good job."
You staying all week, or going home for the start of the Parade of Horribles?
"I might go to the SEC, or home. But we’ve got Lakers Thursday, and then five more (playoff teams). Yeah, I love it. Bring ’em on. It’s why you wake up in the morning, for that competition."
Whoa, wait — did you just say you miss the sidelines?
"What are you trying to do to me?"