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Pat Riley happy with Miami Heat roster as playoff chase intensifies

From NBA media reports

The Miami Heat are battling for one of the last final playoff spots in the East, much like last season, and team president Pat Riley broke his media silence over the weekend by saying he expects to be in the post-season.

Riley customarily addresses the media only twice a year, but maybe the spark shown by his team of late was enough to nudge him to speak. The Heat used a strong finish last season to save itself from disaster, and now finds themselves sitting in the eighth spot, four games ahead of the Detroit Pistons, whom they beat Saturday.

Riley invested heavily in this team primarily based off of that strong finish of a year ago, spending generously on the likes of Dion Waiters, Kelly Olynyk and James Johnson. He also swung a deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers last month to bring back Dwyane Wade.

Barry Jackson of the Miami Herald caught up with Riley and questioned him about what lies ahead:

“We have everything we need,” Riley said. “We have shot blocking. We got pick and roll bigs who can catch lobs. We’ve got pick and roll bigs who can catch layups. We’ve got shooters, defenders. We’ve got a lot of versatility. I think coach has done a great job of developing a system that’s for everybody. And so let’s get on with it.”

Asked if his expectation is that this team should finish higher than the eighth seed, Riley said: “I think we can go up the ladder. The teams between four and nine or 10 are like three or four games apart. A five-game winning streak can put you up in fourth. It’s great. It’s great. I wish we were up there and not having to fret out a lot of these games at night.

“[Saturday] night was a big win. Beating Philly [on Tuesday] was a big win. We’re not going to win all of our games going on out, but the teams that you have got to beat in this conference, beat them. Let’s just buckle up and enjoy this playoff ride. The crowds have been great. The games have been great. Very, very close games. Some games disappointing. It’s a typical NBA season.”

Riley made clear he wants to see these players consistently committed to defense. From a defensive standpoint, Miami is fourth best in the league in points permitted per game (102), seventh best in field goal percentage allowed (45.2) and 10th best in three-point field goal percentage relinquished (35.7).

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