Despite the Heat’s uneven play over the past few weeks, Heat president Pat Riley believes the team has enough to be successful the rest of the season.
“We have everything we need,” Riley told Miami Herald’s Barry Jackson at the team’s annual Family Festival. “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.”
After Saturday night’s victory over the Pistons, the Heat entered Sunday four games ahead of the No. 9 Pistons and one-half game behind the No. 7 Bucks. Although Miami remains in the eighth spot, Riley doesn’t want the team settling for the No.8 playoff seed.
“I think we can go up the ladder, Riley said. “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.”
Of course, the Heat have been inconsistent on the defensive end. This past Thursday, they gave up 131 points on 59 percent shooting to the Los Angeles Lakers. Two nights later, they limited Detroit to 96 points on 41.6 percent shooting.
“What we need to do, as [coach Erik Spoelstra] knows, is the mantra of you have to have and develop a consistent disposition defensively to stop people,” Riley said. “In this game, it’s hard. It’s hard to stop people from getting up shots, all kinds of shots. Back in the day, somebody would take some of the shots that players take today, they would be out so fast, they would be sitting at the end of the bench or you would send them in the locker room. That’s the way the game is played. It’s a great game. A lot of fun.”
And yes, Riley is thrilled to have Dwyane Wade back in Miami.
“He’s going to be the big deal,” Riley said about Wade. “He’s always been the big deal. I love the fact that he’s back. It’s like having a family member that went away for a year and a half. You didn’t know where they were. They were traveling around the world. It’s great to have them back and have Gaby [Wade’s wife Gabrielle Union] and his family back. It’s super.”