Tag:Pat Riley
Posted on: November 24, 2010 1:06 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:03 pm

Van Gundy: Phil Jackson's comments 'ignorant'

Former Miami Heat head coach Stan Van Gundy called speculative comments made by Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson about Pat Riley and the riley-van-gundy Heat "inappropriate" and "ignorant." Posted by Ben Golliver

Yesterday, we noted comments made by Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson, in which he speculated about the future of Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra and the possibility of Heat president Pat Riley taking over the coaching reigns like he did back in 2006. We wondered at the time how and whether the Heat would respond to the comments, given Jackson's notoriety for getting inside his opponent's heads. Interestingly, the strongest reaction so far has come from Stan Van Gundy, who currently coaches the Orland Magic and was the coach of the Heat who was replaced by Riley. According to Hoopsworld.com, Van Gundy teed off today, in advance of tonight's game between the Magic and Heat in Orlando.
"To comment on a situation he knew nothing about is inappropriate and it's also ignorant. I don't mean that commenting on Phil's intelligence; he's obviously a very smart guy. I mean that as ignorant because he doesn't know what that situation was and he doesn't know what the situation in Miami is now. I don't think, unless their relationship has changed drastically, that he and Pat talk on a regular basis so I doubt he would have any information whatsoever on what's going on in Miami," Van Gundy said.
Van Gundy went on to claim that he had gotten past his firing, but he sure sounds wound up and touchy about it, letting the media know they have no idea what's really going on.
"Look, I've gotten way past what people think," Van Gundy said. There are a lot of people who think they know what was going on and it's a little bit funny. A lot of the people who are sure of what went on don't know Pat at all and they certainly don't know me. I mean, I love all of the media people who 'know what's going on.' I don't think there are any of you here who I confided in at that point or at any point since but somehow you guys know things. I don't know, you're omniscient."
There were some hints at the time of Van Gundy's departure that private family situations played a large role in the decision to leave the bench. That's par for the course in tricky transfers of power, but perhaps there was more truth to that here than in other similar situations. Like Van Gundy says, outsiders are not omniscient. One thing we do know, however, is that Phil Jackson's victim list just added another name: Van Gundy's, as he comes off whiny and petulant as always, his thoughts a dull spork compared to the samurai blade cutting of Jackson's statements yesterday.  When will coaches and players learn to completely ignore Jackson's comments? Not today, apparently, so Jackson wins again.
Posted on: November 23, 2010 1:57 pm
Edited on: August 14, 2011 9:03 pm

Phil Jackson questions future of Heat's Spoelstra

Los Angeles Lakers head coach Phil Jackson takes some shots at the Miami Heat and the future of coach Erik Spoelstra. Posted by Ben Golliver  phil-jackson

Say this for Los Angeles Lakers legendary coach Phil Jackson: if he ever decided to leave the bench, he would be an incredible blogger. Jackson has always known which buttons to push and when to push them, and the morning after a surprising, embarrassing double-digit Miami Heat home loss to the Indiana Pacers, Jackson took to the radio airwaves in Chicago to needle the Heat and embattled coach Erik Spoelstra. ESPNLA.com transcribes some of Jackson's comments. First, he opines on Miami's 8-6 record, far short of expectations, is the result of the team "coming together with some real talented guys, and not having a base."  Jackson then went on to speculate that Miami's summer signings -- LeBron James and Chris Bosh -- may call on Heat president Pat Riley, a former championship NBA coach, to take over the reins from Erik Spoelstra, a talented but young Riley coaching disciple. 
"The scenario that sits kind of behind the scene, is that eventually these guys that were recruited -- Bosh and James -- by Pat Riley and Mickey Arrison, the owner, are going to come in and say, 'We feel you [Riley] can do a better job coaching the team. We came here on the hopes that this would work,' and whatever, I don't know," Jackson said. "That's kind of my take on it, is that eventually if things don't straighten out here soon, it could be the Van Gundy thing all over again."
Back in 2005-2006, of course, Riley pulled a similar stunt, taking over for coach Stan Van Gundy roughly a quarter of the way through a season that ended with an NBA title. From the moment James and Bosh joined Dwyane Wade, the whispers that Spoelstra was a dead man walking began. As with all of his public comments about competitors, this shot is a public mental test for Riley, Spoelstra, James and company. It will be very interesting to see how they respond, and whether anyone takes the bait.
Posted on: November 22, 2010 10:22 pm
Edited on: November 22, 2010 10:25 pm

Erick Dampier will not solve the Heat disaster

Erick Dampier can't solve all the Heat's problems as the superstars drop another one, this time to Indiana. Posted by Matt Moore

I'm not going to waste time with "Maybe this is the one that gets their head right." You'll hear no "Maybe this is the one that gets them in gear." No more of that. The Miami Heat are a mediocre team right now. It means nothing in regards to the playoffs, which they will likely make regardless of how bad they look now because they are able to out-talent a largely unimpressive Eastern Conference. It means nothing in terms of the legacy of the Big 3 or this grand experiment. It means simply that.

The Miami Heat are an utterly mediocre team right now.

In tonight's 93-77 beatdown courtesy of the Indiana Pacers... think about that... the Indiana Pacers... the Heat showed the total array of their failures this season. The symptoms which developed in those games against Boston have turned into full-blown medical emergencies, causing hemorhages on-court and flat-lining the Heat for the second game in a row, just two days after a mediocre Grizzlies team beat them. This, in front of a Miami crowd that's been as underwhelming as the Heat. This grand experiment isn't a failure yet, but the early returns would prompt funding agencies to pull-back on their promises of renewed grants. The Pacers handled this team, despite Dwyane Wade playing. Or "playing" as I wouldn't call 3 points on 1-13 shooting with 5 assists, 4 rebounds, and 5 turnovers exactly "playing" in the DWade sense.

The Heat announcers talked about how the team was "blue" because they're missing their captain, Udonis Haslem, out with foot surgery. And Ken Berger reports help is on the way with Erick Dampier likely to sign a one-year deal on Tuesday to bolster their sad, depleted frontcourt. But that's not going to solve the problems. It's not going to make the Heat close out with any urgency, which they have yet to do this year with the exception of their Magic win. It's not going to make them hustle on defense, as LeBron James tonight stood and watched a streaking Pacers guard blow by him with Carlos Arroyo pointlessly trying to keep up and head to the bucket for an easy two. It's not going to make Erik Spoelstra come up with a feasible game plan instead of the pointless meandering this allegedly "elite" ballclub calls an offense. Dampier will help them rebound and foul hard, and that will help, since Chris Bosh once again looked meek and mild, this time in the face of young Roy Hibbert and Danny Granger. But he won't make this team look like it wants to be on the floor or play like a team.

It was up to Riley to get the three in the building, it was up to Spoelstra to get them to play with purpose, together. Riley did his job. And with every inexcusable loss for a team with this hype, this payroll, this talent, you have to wonder if Riley isn't going to end up doing Spoelstra's job as well.

The Heat's problems are in total. Effort, execution, focus, luck, deliberation, strategy, intensity. The entire menu of things you need in order to be an elite NBA team is missing. The only things left are neat intro videos and a bunch of players who don't seem to look at each other, talk to each other, or want to play with each other. And Monday night against a Pacers team that had none of the Heat's talent but all their missing intangibles, the inescapable truth showed itself again.

It's too early to call this a failure.

But it's surely too late to say that it's working.

Posted on: November 15, 2010 2:59 am

Heat need Spoelstra to let go

Heat needs to get out in transition more than they are. Posted by Matt Moore

The Heat has its problems. Among them has been their dysfunctional half-court offense. The Heat simply don't operate well on that end of the floor yet. Players are often out of position, both Dwyane Wade and LeBron James seem to initiate the sets without full confidence in where their perimeter men are nor when to pull up and take jumpers versus attacking the rim, and in general the offense is out of sync. Except when the team is running. With James and Wade gunning up and down the floor with guards that work better in the open floor and the kind of athletes they employ, their transition game is sharp and effective.

According to Synergy Sports, the Heat shoot 62% in transition, which is really very good. But, they only run transition plays 12.8% of the time, which is 15th in the league. Think about that. The best team suited to get out and run the fast break only does it 13% of the time and that's 15th worst in the league. Despite being better suited to score in that position than any team in the league (well, the ones that play defense to any degree anyway), they simply don't get the ball out. They are a slow team.

How slow? Pace is a stat which estimates the number of possessions a team plays in per game. More possessions equals a faster game, or pace. The fastest team in the league currently is the Minnesota Timberwolves, which makes sense since their offensive system right now is akin to a flock of birds after a buckshot rings out. Meanwhile the Heat is the fourth slowest team in the league .

Here's the trick. Getting out in transition with the ball in the hands of one of two of the best players in the world is a pretty good plan. Thing is, that involves Erik Spoelstra loosening his grip on the offense. And as Spoelstra is cut from the Pat Riley cloth, that's just not likely to happen. Furthermore, considering James' sometimes questionable ability in decision making with new teammates, the issue gets more complicated.

The Heat need to get out and run, but that would mean a shift in power even more in the balance of James and Wade. And we're already pretty far down that road already.
Posted on: November 10, 2010 10:06 am
Edited on: November 10, 2010 12:07 pm

Game Changer 11.10.10: Fluke or Fact?

Was the Jazz win a fluke or a sign of the Heat's cooler underbelly? Did the Hornets just win with their bench? And are the Cavs leading their freaking division? All this and more in today's GameChanger .
Posted by Matt Moore

Each game is made up of elements which help formulate the outcome. Monday through Friday, we'll bring you the elements from the night before's games in our own specialized version of the game recaps. It's not everything that happened, but it's an insight into what lead to the results you'll see in the box scores. This is the Game Changer.  


So the question is... was this fluke a not? Because the implications are rather significant. Let's not, for a moment, take anything away from the Utah Jazz. They were on the road, in a hostile sleepy environment, and they simply scratched, clawed, and pounded their way to a win over the most star-studded team in the NBA. Down by 20 last night, they roared back in a 72-point second half to defeat the Heat. A huge win for coach Jerry Sloan, a win the team needed, and an amazing night for Jazz fans that shows their tenacity, their heart, and their talent.

Now, then.

The Heat won the rebounding battle, 46-44. The Heat split the turnover battle, with each team losing it a dozen times, nothing too egregious. The Heat fouled only 20 times to the Jazz' 32. And until the fourth quarter, they held a significant advantage in shooting percentage, with the Jazz shooting 41% to the Heat's 47%. There were a lot of things that would have to go right in the fourth for the Jazz to force overtime.

They happened.

For starters, the Jazz shot 17 of 23 in the fourth, not Indiana numbers , but still an absurd streak. This was of course capped off by Paul Millsap. Millsap entered last night's game a career 2 of 20 3-point shooter (10%). In the final minute of the game, he drained three 3-pointers, making him perfect on the season, as they were the only 3-pointers he's taken this season. Swish. Swish. Swish. Throw on top of that the 46 point detonation he leveled with the other 37 points, including the two on the tip in to force overtime, and you have an amazing night for Millsap, and a huge outlier in terms of predictable results. The Heat suddenly found themselves dropped from an airplane and happened to land right in the middle of a tornado. That's what we're talking about here in terms of probabilities.

So was it a fluke?

I don't think so.

We see the same pattern carried out across the Heat's three losses. A scoring forward down low who's able to use his size to create points amid the barren trees of Miami (tall, sure, but not great defenders). And a point guard who can tear you up (Deron Williams tallied 14 assists last night). In Boston it was Rondo and Glen Davis; in New Orleans it was Chris Paul and Emeka Okafor. Now Millsap-Williams scratch their names onto the tree trunk of inside-out combos that have cooled the Heat. Furthermore, we see the same kind of discombobulation we've seen all season, especially in crunch time, the same reliance on sub-par players to take the biggest shots ("Eddie House for the win... clang!"), the same lackadaisical performance out of the Heat mentally, and the same defensive breakdowns in the biggest moments.

Adding to the improbability of the night was the fact that the Triad gave the kind of performance you'd want from them. Dwyane Wade had 39 and 6 rebounds, LeBron James had a triple-double with 20, 11 boards, and 14 assists, and Chris Bosh had 17 and 9. And they still lost .

The Jazz needed a few more things go their way in this one, that's for sure. The problem is the Heat handed the Jazz those things on a platter. And trying to establish exactly how to resolve those things isn't going to be easy for head coach Erik Spoelstra, who's got to be feeling a little hot this morning either way.

Great win for the Jazz, tough loss for the Heat.


Paul Millsap: Yeah, we'll go ahead and notch him down with 46 points, 9 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal, and 1 block.

LaMarcus Aldridge: 19 points, 17 rebounds, and Aldridge seems more and more like he's taken a big step into becoming a legit big.

Kevin Love: 23 points, 24 rebounds. Amazing what happens when a good player gets playing time, isn't it?

Dwyane Wade: 39 points, 6 rebounds. Hard to argue that Wade didn't do his part last night.

LeBron James: 20 points, 11 rebounds, 14 assists. His first triple-double as a member of the Heat. And again, they lost. So weird.

Al Farouq Aminu: 20 points, 8 rebounds. Look at the rookie make progress!


Brandon Roy had his knee drained .

Our Power Rankings are out , and we went 3-Up, 3-Down .

Oh, and the Pacers went freaking En Fuego .

KB lays out how the Bret Bearup situation affects Melo .


This time they didn't even need Chris Paul to be amazing. The Hornets had every reason for a let-down game after their last week and hot start. Hey, they've got to lose sometime, don't they?

Don't they?

The Clippers are a bad team, but again played well last night, enough to hang until the fourth, with Al Farouq Aminu emerging from the shadows looking like an actual NBA player. But this time it wasn't the starting superstars that did it for the Hornets. It was the bench mob. Jerryd Bayless ran the show, Willie Green filled it up (19 points on 7-10 shooting), and that was enough for the Hornets to pull away and not need Chris Paul to press his knee anymore. The Hornets just keep finding ways to get it done. The Hornets are running a weird modified break, where they force the issue, pulling teams inside, then using smart passing around the perimeter to get the job done with open jumpers. It may not be sustainable, but by God, it's working right now.


The Cleveland Cavaliers lead the Central division at 4-3.


"Hold me... "


Uh, yeah, I think we'll go with MANSAP.


The Minnesota Timberwolves played a great game last night. It'll get glossed over in the headlines and be forgotten within about, oh, four hours, but they really did. Kevin Love was just tremendous on the glass and they had some good things going. They just couldn't get the last burst to get past the Lakers, who had one of their "Do we really have to care nights?" And the answer was no. But still, good stuff from the Wolves who responded to their beat downs lately with a respectable performance. And yet another loss.

Follow F&R on Twitter at @CBSSportsNBA and check out our RSS feed . This has been your daily edition of the Game Changer.

Posted on: October 11, 2010 4:16 pm
Edited on: October 11, 2010 4:21 pm

Heat are all business as team develops

Heat locker room far from playful, players speak of "sacrifice" often as preseason ramps up towards regular season start.
Posted by Matt Moore

It's preseason. Which means that anything that occurs needs to be taken with a grain of salt the size of softball. But there was an overriding feeling you could take from the Heat locker room last Friday, their second preseason game in Kansas City against the Oklahoma City Thunder. If what we're seeing in preseason is any indication, things will not be the same as they were in Cleveland.

Oh, James will still be there. He'll still be torching defenses that are literally powerless to stop him, whipping passes to teammates who now might actually catch and finish off of them. And the egocentricity will still be there. Of that you can be sure. In Kansas City, James' locker room was closest to the door at the furthest edge, not atypical for an NBA starter. Dwyane Wade, out with a hamstring injury, occupied the other end of the bracket. But it was James, only speaking to reporters for a precious few minutes (it is just a preseason game in KC, after all) who loomed. His gear spread out, occasionally shouting rap lyrics as he listened to those gold Dre headphones.

The biggest difference between this Heat locker room and what we saw in Cleveland, though, may be in attitude. The Cavs were consistently discussed as being very loose, very easy going, always joking. The bench famously danced to their opponents' misfortune . Many found it disrespectful, some found it unprofessional. It's possible that the Heat could turn into the same happy go-lucky bunch when they get to know one another better, when there aren't kids scrapping for a final roster spot on a team that could net them a championship their first year in. But there was a very clear sense of the tone of the Heat both in the locker room and on the floor, best summed up by Udonis Haslem before the game.

"From Day 1," Haslem said, "when everyone started to make sacrifices to be a part of this, we understood what it's all about. It's all about business, and everyone coming together for a common goal, to try and win a championship."

That much was clear, even in a preseason game in a non-NBA city. The players aren't robots, it's not a taciturn feel to them when they're on the floor or in the back. Dwyane Wade hung Udonis Haslem's shirt and jeans from a ceiling fan after the game for crying out loud (another indication it is still very much Wade's locker room, despite LeBron's looming presence). Business is probably the most outstanding theme from the sense you take away from this team. Despite the distractions, despite the egos, despite "The Decision," this team focused on executing business. It may have been all fun and games over the summer or in previous years, but the backlash has forged in this team a determination mentally that's been apparent in their brief time on the court. Chris Bosh, after the Heat victory in which he scored 23 points, primarily from the attention drawn by LeBron, also spoke to the level of intensity that's already present with the Heat.

"It is all business," Bosh said. "Everything we do is professional. We handle everything in a professional manner. We practice extremely hard. We work hard in the weight room, in the training room, to prepare us the right way to play. That's the nature of the Heat organization. I think everyone has accepted it and we have that in the back of our minds every time, that we have a lot of expectations on us. And in order to fulfill those expectations we're going to have to work hard and be professional and make sure we get something done and make progress every day."

Bosh said he got over the excitement of playing with Wade and James in training camp. "Once it was business as usual" it was "natural." You have to wonder that in the middle of all the rumored "glorification" of the free agents, if this was the real secret of Pat Riley's success, explaining that his approach is to be professional and reach your goals. Instead of discussions about earning a billion dollars, or playing in this or that city, Riley's approach paid off and so far, it seems to have taken hold. The word sacrifice is spoken often by the Heat, from role players all the way up to the superstars. It's odd to hear it from them after a summer of so many people calling them selfish for leaving their respective teams. But they're very much dedicated to at least talking about it. Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra said that all three of the Triad superstars came in knowing the sacrifice they were going to have to make. Whether that will translate to the floor and locker room is another question that can only be answered by the grind of the regular season, but it can't be denied that the idea is on their mind. And for now, the team itself hasn't allowed many outside influences to start creeping in.

Two people I talked to close to the situation said that as of yet, James' entourage haven't become integrated with the Heat's organization. They are present, but not overt as some feared they would be. Then again, this is October 11th, not February or April, and things are very much different now than how they will be then. The challenge for the Heat will be to keep themselves invested in that business approach, in the intensity Haslem spoke of, while not grinding themselves into nothing. Maybe simply pulling pranks on teammates like Wade's tilt-a-whirl of Haslem's jeans will keep the team loose enough while it focuses on taking its energy out on the critics who doubt them.

One way or another, this season is setting itself up to reveal a lot not only about LeBron James and his legacy, but about this group of professionals the Heat have surrounded the Triad with. One thing's for sure, with all the hype, talent, attention, criticism and expectations they'll face this year, and despite what they may tell reporters, it won't be business as usual.

Posted on: October 1, 2010 2:33 pm
Edited on: October 1, 2010 2:34 pm

Heat Stroke: Very big important news

Posted by Royce Young

BIG TIME BREAKING IMPORTANT NEWS: LeBron James will be allowed to wear his headband in Miami this season. Phew, now I can sleep tonight.

Courtesy Ira Winderman of the Sun Sentinel, LeBron said at Friday's practice, "I asked for it and I got it."

You may be wondering, "Why did LeBron have to ask if he can wear his headband?" Well, that's because Pat Riley has some sort of ban on them, for reasons unknown to anyone on the planet. From an old article, Riley is quoted as saying headbands are
"the disease of me ...  "I've just always had a thing about headbands."

Riley isn't the only coach that has a hangup with sweatcatchers. Jerry Sloan and Scott Skiles both prohibit them too. The common line of thinking behind restricting headband usage is that individuality is not part of basketball. Every play should dress the same, act the same and play as one unit on the court. It's a discipline thing. Most don't wear headbands for the intended use of catching sweat, but more for fashion reasons. I'm not saying I agree, I'm just saying I think that's the reasoning there.

However, LeBron's not getting special treatment from Riley just because he's LeBron. Previously, Riley allowed Jermaine O'Neal to keep his headband when O'Neal played in Miami. Odd how Riley easily allows something he called a "disease."

As for why LeBron insists on wearing skullbands,
James told the Akron Beacon Journal back in 2006, "I've worn a headband for a long time ... It is a routine. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't wear one. If it is something you have been doing your whole life -- it doesn't matter what field you're in, athletics or the business side -- if someone comes and tells you to switch your routine up, it is going to mess up your work."

And instead of causing a MAJOR distraction this season in Miami, luckily Riley sidestepped all unnecessary controversy and attention by permitting LeBron to wear his headband. Crisis averted.
Posted on: September 20, 2010 12:26 pm
Edited on: September 20, 2010 1:42 pm

The Heat will stretch the X's and O's

Posted by Matt Moore

We knew the Heat were going to be different. That's to be expected when you import two superstars onto the same team to join another. But we're now learning that it's probably going to push even further than we expected.

Ira Winderman of the Miami Sun-Sentinel spoke with Pat Riley a few days ago and the Heat head honcho "strongly hinted" that LeBron James or Dwyane Wade would do considerable work at point guard . Erik Spoelstra then spoke with the Miami Herald and said that James and Wade would "handle the ball" a lot. Wade has been adamant that him running point wouldn't be a big differential from what he's done at the past, but there's always been a "true" point guard on the floor bringing the ball up-court.

How does a Heat team ran at point by James or Wade look like? Well, it's different, that's for sure. A lineup that may see considerable time for the Heat features Mike Miller at shooting guard. You can expect Miller to camp on the perimeter and wait for his man to commit to a double-team or subsequent recovery help. The center's irrelevant here. Joel Anthony, Zydrunas Ilgauskas, doesn't matter. They're rebounding  and setting off-screens. That's it. Here's the kink in this system. If we suppose Bosh is in the post (where, honestly, he's not at his strongest, versus face-up), and James is running point, is Wade in the high post? Or is he on the perimeter as well? His perimeter shooting isn't good enough for that to be a viable strategy. The backdoor cut is obviously a high-potential opportunity. But then you're risking injury as Wade's in an elevated, high impact position, focused on catching the lob while the guys underneath try and kill him.

This is the problem with Wade at point-forward. With a talented true-center, he could run the two-man game. But is Bosh able to work that way out of the post? Bosh in the high pinch post with James at point playing the two man game may be the best option, with Wade floating off back-door screens, then driving inside for a kick and drive.

Lots of options. Wade at point may be the better one.

James in the high post may be the right merger of his skills. Gives his top-level passing the ability to go low to Bosh, out to Miller, or off the cut to Wade. Wade working with Bosh feels like it would make more sense, on plays that allow James to take a possession "off." The biggest issue will be creating space without allowing teams to cheat inside and just smack them around in playoff-style basketball.

Oh, and there's Mario Chalmers...

Moving on.

The Heat are going to have a lot to figure out when they head to camp in a few weeks.
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com