Maybe the best compliment you can pay Pat Riley right now is to suggest this team reflects the personality of its boss. Which is exactly what Riley had in mind when he pushed enough of the right buttons to make a Heat appearance possible in these NBA Finals.
“Pat is the man,” said swingman Jimmy Butler, the team’s spiritual leader. “We got a bunch of dogs on this team, and he’s the big dog.”
In their first meeting last summer, when he was weighing the decision to sign with the Heat as a free agent, Butler said Riley won him over in five minutes. That sounds about right. Whether it’s tossing championship rings on the table, or delivering compelling and stirring motivational talks, Riley usually gets his man. But that man must meet The Man’s standards, which, in hindsight, Butler surely has.