The Miami Heat may be something of a hot mess, but Pat Riley wasn’t saying anything negative about Coach Erik Spoelstra’s performance. Or addressing the fact that, you know, Riley himself isn’t such a bad coach and he’s available and all.
Asked as he watched the Big East Tournament in Madison Square Garden whether he’d seen headlines about the Heat’s struggles, the Heat president told the Star-Ledger: “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.”
That’s an endorsement of a sort, right? Riley seems to have the same attitude as LeBron James, who as his team takes a five-game losing streak into tonight’s game against the Los Angeles Lakers: “How do we explain it? We can’t. “This isn’t rock bottom for us. Crazy thing is, we could lose every game and still make the playoffs in the Eastern Conference.”
Erik Spoelstra said he & Pat Riley shared a bottle of wine in Riley’s office after Sunday’s loss to Bulls. No mention of cheese.
Said Riley, giving no indication whether he’d heard the “We want Riley” chants from Heat fans: “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.”
Nor was Riley buying into the notion that it might be nice to have home-court advantage in, say, a Game 7 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.”