Miami Heat president Pat Riley said the Los Angeles Lakers beat his side "fair and squarely" in the NBA Finals but he feels the Lakers' title has an asterisk next to it because Miami was hampered by injuries throughout the finals series.
The Heat suffered a major blow in the opening game of the NBA Finals against the Lakers as starting guard Goran Dragic and starting center Bam Adebayo went down with injuries. The Heat, who lost Game 1 to the Lakers, were without Dragic and Adebayo in games 2 and 3 but they managed to win Game 3 to reduce the deficit to 2-1.
Adebayo played the rest of the series, while Dragic returned to action in Game 6, which the Heat lost as the Lakers took a 4-2 victory in the NBA Finals. "They beat us fair and squarely,” Riley said to Fox Sports, as quoted on Yahoo Sports.
“They were the best team. But there’s always going to be that asterisk, that caveat. If we had Bam and Goran—Goran was our leading scorer in the playoffs—at 100 percent, it could have gone to a seventh game.
But I’m not going to look back on it, I’m just going to look at all the positive things." The Heat performed above the expectations last season and Riley was proud of his team. "Yes, I would like to see what it would be like with everybody whole,” Riley explained.
“But we’ll get that shot again. I’m just so proud of what our guys did… The Lakers were great; they were a great team and they have the greatest player in the game today in LeBron [James] and Anthony Davis”.
Heat president Riley wants to keep Dragic and Adebayo
"We have a good idea of what we want to do,'' Riley said in his annual end-of-season media availability, per the AP. "We know what our priorities are.
It is to take care of the players that we have, that we have to make decisions on almost immediately. We know Bam has a decision to make and we do with him. We know the guys that have sacrificed for us that we really like, our free agents, especially Goran.'
' Riley says the Heat will explore their options in the free agency but won't rush with their decisions. "I just think we need to remain fluid,'' Riley said. "Once we get all the numbers and we get everything down, we get the schedule, we know when the dates are, and what the rules are in everything, once we get all of that, we're going to remain fluid. And whatever presents itself to us, we'll look at it.' '