Friday , Jun , 09 , 2006 C.Y. Ellis

Pat Riley Isn’t Happy

Given Miami’s disturbing performance in yesterday’s nightmare fourth quarter, it’s little surprise that Pat Riley is steaming mad. Still, it’s been a while since a game has bothered him and his hair this much, and he doesn’t seem to be alone in his frustration with the outcome of game one.

“They should be disgusted,” the Heat coach said Friday. “Disgusted and frustrated.”

“The truthbox doesn’t lie,” Heat backup center Alonzo Mourning said after a 90-minute film session. “I’m talking about the television. When we watch tape, that truthbox does not lie. And you can see the mistakes, the lack of rotation, the lack of help, the things of that nature. … It just wasn’t there.”

Dangerously for Miami, their unpleasant evening appeared to have had an effect even on the psyche of the man whose cup usually runneth over with confidence. While Heat fans were hoping for a little good-humoured arrogance and a snappy quote or two, The Big Quotable instead showed up to the post-game press conference with a gut full of humble pie.

"The burden is always going to be on me and I’ve accepted that ever since 1992," O’Neal said. "Whenever we don’t play well, I take a lot of it on my shoulders, anyway. The key is not to have two games like that in a row. So I’ll be hard on myself these next two days. And then hopefully on Sunday, I could play a little bit better."
Should we consider this to be the first sign of concern, or simply some classic psychological Shaqtics from the Diesel? Whatever the case, it means that he’s likely to be the big story in game two, whether for a good night or not. If he can find it in himself to shake free from the incessant off-the-ball fouls of Diop and Dampier and knock down the occasional charity shot, the Heat will find themselves in a position to draw the series even. If not, they may well have a long, unpleasant summer ahead of them.
"We come out, and — if I know this team — we will respond to the challenge, come out and be better defensively and give ourselves a chance to win in Game 2."

For the sake of this series, let’s hope that Dwyane Wade is telling the truth.