Friday , Feb , 08 , 2008 C.Y. Ellis

Pat Riley Believes Shaquille O’Neal Still Has Some Gas Left

Heat coach Pat Riley disagreed with Shaquille O’Neal’s assessment during Thursday’s introductory news conference in Phoenix that he wasn’t allowed to play an up-tempo style. ‘The last couple of years, I was in a system where we really didn’t run,’  O’Neal said in Phoenix, a day after he was traded to the Suns. ‘So you guys automatically think I can’t run. But, hey, I love to run.’ But Riley said O’Neal had plenty of opportunities in the Heat’s transition game. ‘We always wanted him to run — what we call rim runs — four or five times a game,’ Riley said before Thursday’s game against the Sixers.

 ‘And when he was healthy, he was doing that the first couple of years.’ But Riley said the Heat was more committed to the post-up game with O’Neal as injuries began to take their toll the past two seasons. Still, Riley said he believes O’Neal, who turns 36 on March 6, can be effective for the Suns when he returns from injury. Riley said the Heat’s medical staff spoke with the Suns about O’Neal’s treatment regimen and the options he faces in Phoenix. Click here for more from the Miami Herald.