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No way Pat Riley takes over Miami Heat

Things would only get worse in Miami if Pat Riley took over the reins from coach Erik Spoelstra.
By John Rohde Modified: November 27, 2010 at 10:11 pm •  Published: November 27, 2010

Coaching the Miami Heat this season no longer is a position of envy, not even for team president Pat Riley.

Riley planted a seed last summer that he possibly could supplant Erik Spoelstra as Heat coach, but that now appears highly unlikely.

Miami won't win this year's NBA title. The team is too temperamental, too beat up and missing too many championship components.

If Riley were to become coach this season, there would be a much greater likelihood the South Beach gang would go even further south in the power rankings while refusing to meet Riley's incessant demands.

LeBron James and Chris Bosh already have been critical of Spoelstra practicing them too hard and playing them too many minutes. Imagine the pouting if Riley took the reins.

Five years ago, Shaquille O'Neal wanted Riley to coach the Heat. James wants no such thing.

If he indeed wanted Riles in charge, James would have said so by now. James is in the midst of arguably the biggest player public-relations plummet in NBA history, so what further harm could come from asking Riley to pull another Riley?

When the Heat started out 11-10 in the 2005-06 season, Riley replaced Stan Van Gundy as coach. Miami went 41-20 under Riley and won the world title. The same early departure probably doesn't await Spoelstra, however.

When Riley took over the Heat, his four previous NBA championships all came with the Lakers and he hadn't worn the crown in 18 years. Riley now has a ring with the Heat. His championship itch already has been scratched.

Winning this year's title with a roster manufactured of the greatest free-agent class in league history wouldn't carry nearly the same notoriety or clout for Riley, who is now 65 and less spry than five years ago.

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Before Saturday night's game at Dallas:

* Miami had a 9-7 record. The Heat also was 9-7 at this point last season without LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Mike Miller, Eddie House, Zydrunas Ilgauskas or Juwan Howard — or roughly $42.5 million in new contracts.

* Right-handed Dwyane Wade sprained his left wrist, which somehow affected his shooting. In a three-game span, Wade shot a combined 11 for 47 (.234) from field, 1 for 12 (.083) from 3-point range and 9 of 18 (.500) from the free-throw line.

* The Heat was 1-5 when LeBron James scored 25 points or more; 2-6 against teams over .500; 1-7 when James played 40-plus minutes.

* The nine teams the Heat has beaten have a combined record of 51-80 (.389).

* Carlos Arroyo is the team's starting point guard, and is averaging 1.9 assists.

* Point guard Mario Chalmers has zero starts in 10 appearances and is averaging 7.3 minutes, 1.3 assists, 1.0 points, 0.5 steals and 0.4 rebounds while battling a high-ankle sprain and hip injury. Two years ago as a rookie, Chalmers started all 82 games and averaged 32.0 minutes, 10.0 points, 4.9 assists, 2.8 rebounds and 2.0 steals.

* Outside shooting ace Miller has yet to play thanks to a thumb injury that will likely sideline him until January.

* Ilgauskas and Joel Anthony have started at center, both with little impact. Anthony recently air-balled a dunk. Look for newly acquired Erick Dampier to possibly become the third starter, or Jamaal Magloire. After that, it's Texas rookie Dexter Pittman in the D-League.


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