By Greg Anthony
Why players respect Riley
About a dozen years ago, when I was playing for Pat Riley in New York, I remember coming off the airplane after a long road trip, and we'd get tapes from our video team at 3 a.m. from the game we just played. And there would be material in there inserted specifically to insure you watched it. Yes, you would be tested.
You had no choice but to be prepared. Riley is as good as anybody at getting a team ready for its next game.
This work showed when we'd be in the huddle late in a game, and Riley would tell us exactly what the other team would do. You'd head out on the court, full of confidence, knowing what would happen.
Not everybody is that calm and confident. Other coaches I've known would be shaking and draw six Xs on the board.
Move ahead to today, and this constant remains: players respect greatness. That's one reason Shaq wanted him on the bench. That presence. Pat Riley is a great coach. Stan Van Gundy could say the same things, but it wouldn't have the same impact.
The other big thing to look for is the growth of Dwyane Wade. We forget he's only in his third year, and as good as he is, he can take it to another level. Riley can help him get there.
Other than Wade, this is a veteran team. I think his practices are going to be tougher mentally than physically. He's no fool; wearing them out in practice when they've got a long NBA season to play does no one any good.
He's going to want to increase and improve their mental focus, remember the little things, focus on making the other team uncomfortable on the offensive end.
All that preparation shows in crunch time. In those last 125 seconds of Game 7 against the Pistons last year, you had Damon Jones turning the ball over, and Wade taking a long jumper. Not that you blame Van Gundy for those things.
With Riley, you'll see the emphasis is more about quality possessions. It doesn't mean Shaq or Wade must get the ball, but it must be a worthy attempt. Remember, it wasn't always Michael Jordan making the big shot for the Bulls. You'd see John Paxson making some.
In preparing his team, Riley will make sure quality possessions are emphasized in the biggest moments.
He can mold this team to do things. He will define roles. His best players have always been his hardest workers -- Patrick Ewing, for example.
Now the big trick. Can he make it a team that is good enough to beat the Detroit Pistons?
If they get there, Riley will have them prepared.
NBA Coast to Coast host Greg Anthony played for six NBA teams in 11 seasons, including the Knicks from 1991-95.
Heat coach Pat Riley directs his attention toward Shaq on Tuesday night in Chicago. Shaq had 30 points as the Heat won, 100-97. "I would have retired if we lost," Riley joked afterward.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS -- Ron Artest could turn the Clippers from an upstart into a powerhouse, but would they part with Corey Maggette ($7 million)? More likely is an offer of Chris Wilcox ($2.8 million) and Zeljko Rebraca ($3 million).
LOS ANGELES LAKERS -- If they could get Artest for Kwame Brown ($7.5 million), they'd do it in a second. If they could get him for Devean George ($5 million) and Stanislav Medvedenko ($3 million), they'd do it in a nanosecond.
Speaking Of Stan
Stackhouse Hoping For Dec. 23 Return
D-League Remains An Option For Bynum
McCants Waits For Critical Duty
Tim Duncan had better luck from the floor against Chris Kaman than the free throw line. He displayed some foul, foul shooting (3 for 13), but sank two late FTs to send the game into overtime. Playing without Manu Ginobili, the Spurs beat the Clippers, 95-87.
Quote of the Night
-- Andrew Ayres
Is Ron Artest one of the best 15 players in the NBA? Indiana and his native New York think so. But most of SportsNation disagrees by a slight margin.
Not Michigan though. Opinion runs against the Tru Warior by an over 2-to-1 margin in the state where Artest had a leading role in the Brawl at Auburn Hills
Twenty-two years ago, on Dec. 13, 1983, the Detroit Pistons beat the Denver Nuggets 186-184 in triple overtime. It was, and remains, the highest-scoring game in NBA history.
Before they were the Bad Boys, Isiah and the Pistons were a high-scoring machine.
186-184. 370 total points.
You might recall that a couple years ago, Rasheed Wallace was apparently getting offers from companies to tattoo their logo into his skin. At the time, the league didn't have a rule that would have explicitly prevented this, but it was just a matter of time. If a player consummated a tattoo deal this season, he would be fined for it.
At the beginning of the year, NBA teams received a memo that stated that "no player can wear any commercial, promotional or charitable name, mark, logo or other identification during any game, including, but not limited to, on his body, in his hair or otherwise." Based on this rule, Ron Artest was asked to shave his head when he came out last month with his record label "Tru Warier" etched in his head.