Avery Johnson vs. Pat Riley

Thursday, June 8, 2006

Johnson, the NBA coach of the year, is the first coach to lead a team to the NBA Finals in his first full season since Mike Dunleavy guided the Lakers in 1991. Ever since he replaced Don Nelson late last season, the Little General has commanded respect from Mavericks, forcing his team to make a commitment on the defensive end. Johnson set the NBA record for the best coaching start after 82 games (66-16). Riley has taken a lot of heat for his extreme offseason makeover and for replacing Stan Van Gundy, but each move has worked out for the Heat, which has won 10 of its past 13 playoff games. Riley won four championship rings with the Showtime Lakers and is making his ninth trip to the NBA Finals, but he hasn't won a championship since 1988 or been to the Finals since 1994. The legendary coach is feeling the drought.


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