MIAMI (AP) — Pat Riley said he wakes up around 11 a.m. these days then heads into the office to chat with fellow Miami Heat executives Nick Arison and Andy Elisburg about nothing.
He's lying, of course.
There might not be anyone in the Miami organization who savors playoff time more than Riley, the Heat president with eight championship rings in his collection. And with Miami on the cusp of setting a franchise record for wins in a season — the team mark is 61, which this Heat club could match with a win against Milwaukee on Tuesday night — Riley sounds very much like he's ready for another postseason run.
"It's the ultimate dream for me," Riley said. "It really is."
Riley last coached on April 16, 2008, the end of Miami's miserable 15-win season. All that's happened since is the promotion of Erik Spoelstra to head coach, the acquisition of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and others to play alongside Dwyane Wade, two trips to the NBA Finals, one championship and 288 regular-season and playoff victories — third-most in the league over that span.
And barring all-out collapse, Miami will head into the playoffs later this month as the No. 1 overall seed in the league, guaranteed home-court advantage through the NBA Finals.
"They're ready," said Riley, who sits opposite the Heat bench during home games, rarely showing any outward signs of emotion. "They know that they have something to play for. They know they have the weapons to go out and play for it. They're so smart as a team. They're getting themselves ready on their own clock and Spo is getting them ready the same way. They'll be ready to play."
Riley rarely gives interviews about the state of the Heat anymore, preferring the overwhelming majority of the focus and spotlight remain on Spoelstra and the players. He issued a statement through a team spokesman late last month directed at Boston Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who chided James for complaining about the way he is officiated. Riley's response was swift, direct and slightly profane, though it served as a reminder that there's plenty of fire still burning within him.
And when he met with reporters Sunday at a Heat charity event — one that had "the future" as a theme and raised over $503,000 for South Florida charities — Riley seemed to address his own future, indicating that his work in Miami is not over yet.