by Brett Edwards
"I pray to you, O Basketball Gods, don't count my past against me."
Riles claims to be superstitious and to have belief in the basketball gods in this article from today's Miami herald. The article details a clerical error back in the summer of 2003 that terminated Anthony Carter's contract and in turn gave the Heat an unexpected boost of $4.1M in salary cap dollars. This allowed them to sign Lamar Odom, which in turn allowed them to trade him to the Lakers and bring Shaquille to South Beach.
While this seems to be a bit of a stretch, Riley's quotes seem to be directly opposite to the way he has lived his basketball existence:
"I'm a superstitious guy. I believe in the basketball gods,'' the coach said. ``I believe if you do things right, if you suffer enough, good things will happen.
`The basketball gods will reward you.''
Riles better hope this isn't true, because he definitely doesn't "do things right." As Bill Simmons points out in his Finals preview, Riles screwed the Knicks and went to their bitter rivals, not to mention ripping the team from Stan Van Jeremy this season. As we pointed out at the time, Riley ran this Heat team into the ground, going from 52 wins in 2000 to 50 in '01, 36 in '02, and 25 in '03. He then started the 2003-04 season by bailing on the team right before the season started, leaving Van Gundy to clean up the mess. This is doing things right?!
Just one more reason why I like the Mavs in five.