Pat Riley Rumors
The Heat see the value in winning, to building a culture, which is why they didn’t pack it in after last season’s 11-30 start. Miami missed the playoffs, but the winning habits formed during a 30-11 finish get super-glued to young players, lessons only learned through success. “People say the last two years the way we have done it is non-traditional or unconventional,” Spoelstra told Yahoo Sports. “I would say it is more by whatever means necessary is the way Coach Riley looks at it. Because for 23 years he has built championship-contending teams in different ways. Through the draft, through free agency through trade and then this summer, bringing a team back that we felt that we could build with and grow, from a group largely overlooked or outcasts.” Where many see bad contracts, the Heat see flexibility. Yes, Miami has spent its money, but few deals on the Heat’s books are considered untradeable, and the ever-proactive Riley is a bold risk-taker, willing to take chances, willing to bet that a winning culture and a South Beach lifestyle are enough to retain anyone who wears a Miami uniform.
Miami Heat coach Erik Spoelstra became the franchise’s all-time wins leader, earning his 455th victory when his team beat the LA Clippers 90-85 at home on Saturday night. Spoelstra passed Pat Riley to break the record. Spoelstra is only one of two active head coaches in the NBA to post at least 450 wins with their current team, joining San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich, who has 1,169 wins with the Spurs.
“I thought that it would be most fitting to go retro and have an old-school Miami Heat game in honor of coach Riley,” Spoelstra said. “This is the type of game he probably enjoys the most — you win shooting 37 percent. I think we scored too many points this game. But those are the old-school, tough, grind-it-out, find any way as a competitor to win the games. That’s in honor of my mentor and my coach. He’s still my coach.”
Spoelstra moved to within one victory of Pat Riley’s Heat franchise record of 454 regular season wins with Miami’s pounding of the Grizzlies Monday in Memphis. Spoelstra, 47, was asked to speak about the imminent accomplishment, which could happen Wednesday when the Heat (13-13) return home to face Portland (13-13). He refused. After all, that would be making an assumption and getting ahead of ourselves. “There’s nothing wrong with that,” said Udonis Haslem, the only man on the Heat roster to play for both coaches. “There’s still a long season ahead of us. The plan this season wasn’t to come in and help Spo break Riles’ record. The plan was to get to the playoffs and see where we can go from there.
Riley, 72, was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2008. Spoelstra has coached the Heat to two titles and four trips to the Finals, all in the Big Three era of Dwyane Wade, LeBron James and Chris Bosh. He already holds the franchise record with 70 postseason wins. “It’s a hell of an accomplishment,” Haslem said. “I mean, you’re talking about Pat, a Hall of Fame guy. You get mentioned in that conversation or surpass him or break that record, it’s a tribute to Spo and how he’s grown and the work he’s put into it and the product the organization has put out there on the floor.”