Pat Riley says Heat will be ready for playoffs

Associated Press  |  Last updated April 08, 2013
(Eds: With AP Photos.) By TIM REYNOLDS AP Basketball Writer Pat Riley said he wakes up around 11 a.m. these days then heads into the office to chat with fellow Miami Heat executives Nick Arison and Andy Elisburg about nothing. He's lying, of course. There might not be anyone in the Miami organization who savors playoff time more than Riley, the Heat president with eight championship rings in his collection. And with Miami on the cusp of setting a franchise record for wins in a season - the team mark is 61, which this Heat club could match with a win against Milwaukee on Tuesday night - Riley sounds very much like he's ready for another postseason run. ''It's the ultimate dream for me,'' Riley said. ''It really is.'' Riley last coached on April 16, 2008, the end of Miami's miserable 15-win season. All that's happened since is the promotion of Erik Spoelstra to head coach, the acquisition of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and others to play alongside Dwyane Wade, two trips to the NBA Finals, one championship and 288 regular-season and playoff victories - third-most in the league over that span. And barring all-out collapse, Miami will head into the playoffs later this month as the No. 1 overall seed in the league, guaranteed home-court advantage through the NBA Finals. ''They're ready,'' said Riley, who sits opposite the Heat bench during home games, rarely showing any outward signs of emotion. ''They know that they have something to play for. They know they have the weapons to go out and play for it. They're so smart as a team. They're getting themselves ready on their own clock and Spo is getting them ready the same way. They'll be ready to play.'' Riley rarely gives interviews about the state of the Heat anymore, preferring the overwhelming majority of the focus and spotlight remain on Spoelstra and the players. He issued a statement through a team spokesman late last month directed at Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who chided James for complaining about the way he is officiated. Riley's response was swift, direct and slightly profane, though it served as a reminder that there's plenty of fire still burning within him. And when he met with reporters Sunday at a Heat charity event - one that had ''the future'' as a theme and raised over $503,000 for South Florida charities - Riley seemed to address his own future, indicating that his work in Miami is not over yet. ''I just want to keep helping them,'' Riley said. ''I want keep bringing in pieces that's going to complement them and hope we can have one of those 10-year rides, you know? You think about every team, the Celtics in the `60s and the Lakers in the `80s and the Bulls and then again the Spurs, those guys have been together for eight, nine, 10 years. And if we can keep this group together for eight, nine, 10 years, we're all going to have some fun.'' What happens down the road is secondary these days to Riley and the Heat, however. For them, the priority is right now. Since 1970, only four franchises - the Lakers, Chicago, Detroit and Houston - have been able to successfully defend an NBA championship. Miami will enter the postseason favored to become the fifth club on that list, which was Riley's goal when putting the core of this roster together in 2010. At that time, he used the word ''dynasty'' when talking to season-ticket holders. For the Heat to get there, a second straight title would seem to be an obvious prerequisite. ''I knew after 2008, that 15-win season, that that was it,'' Riley said. ''But I never realized that I would have an opportunity to watch and thoroughly enjoy just the players on the practice court, watch them warming up, watch them playing the game, watch them celebrate, watch them have fun. It's just been an absolute Godsend for me at this stage of my career.'' NOTES: Miami will enter Tuesday's game with the Bucks with a magic number of two for wrapping up the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs. Any combination of Heat wins or San Antonio losses that add up to two would give Miami the right to host Game 1 - and, of course, any potential Game 7 - in the postseason. ... After Tuesday, the Heat head to Washington for a game on Wednesday, and the Wizards have won nine straight at home. Following that trip, the Heat return home to meet fellow playoff teams Boston (Friday) and Chicago (Sunday). ... Odd stat alert: James is currently third in the NBA in total points scored - not average per game - this season, behind Kevin Durant and Kobe Bryant. James has finished second in total scoring in each of the past eight seasons.
Eddie Maisonet and Danny Leroux breakdown the state of the Sixers
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Indians' Roberto Perez reveals battle with Bell's palsy

76ers apologize for pulling singer from national anthem

Cubs fans line up outside bar at 5:30 am before Game 3

Sheldon Adelson threatens to walk away from Raiders stadium deal

NCAA set to distribute some revenue based on academic performance


Tom Brady nixes a future in coaching, blames lack of patience

Report: NFL interviewed Cowboys RB Ezekiel Elliott about domestic incident

Aldon Smith has applied for reinstatement to the NFL

Bill Polian suggests NFL step in if Browns trade Joe Thomas

Mike Zimmer denies details of slaughtered stuffed animal story

Russell: Home opener without Bryant ‘felt like a home game’

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

Box Score 10/28: London, Wrigley and the Cell

NHL in three players: Carey Price is the MVP of sports

Rex Ryan: Pats’ violation of unwritten rule led to skirmish

LeBron doesn’t want Thompson bringing Khloe around Cavs?

NFL ratings decline is also hurting the restaurant business

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

Darrelle Revis: ‘My body’s breaking down’

Box Score 10/27: Embiid, Banks, beer and bowl games

76ers fan ejected for flipping off Russell Westbrook apologizes

All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

College Football Playoff set-up could keep best teams out of title contention

WATCH: Breaking down the current state of the 76ers

Five things we have learned thus far in the World Series

Can Hell in a Cell still bring the heat?

We’re doing the Bountygate thing again

Significant firsts for women's wrestling in WWE at 'Hell in a Cell'

One Gotta Go: Pac-12 players and coaches vs. the worst pickup ballers

A look back at 10 of the best-looking World Series

25 questions heading into the 2016-17 NBA season

The sports classic horror villains would play

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker