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Pat Riley On Flip Saunders: 'I Regard Him As One Of The Best Coaches'

by Kyle Ratke, Digital Content Manager

Digital Content Manager

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The NBA coaching circle is a close-knit one and one that constantly learns from each other.

Pat Riley, who won 1,210 games as a coach, including five NBA championship, was considered one of the best to ever do it.

Riley considers the late Flip Saunders one of the best that he ever went up against.

“My relationship with Flip Saunders is truly coach to coach,” the former Lakers, Knicks and Heat coach said. “I regard him as one of the best coaches that I ever coached against because he was so difficult to prepare for. If you didn’t prepare for one of his teams, he was going to make you look like a fool. He was not only able to be a great, great coach, but I also think he was a big family man, a great friend. It’s up to us to keep his name and memory alive.”

Saunders’ Pistons and Riley’s Heat teams had some great battles from 2005-08, a stretch when Saunders’ Pistons advanced to the Eastern Conference Finals all three years.

Flip Saunders Night will be on Thursday when the Wolves host the Lakers. Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. Players will wear custom shoes honoring Flip and all fans in attendance will receive a commemorative coin, one of Flip’s trademarks during his time with the team.