Ainge on Riley: 'We're both right'
BOSTON -- After Miami Heat team president Pat Riley unloaded on Danny Ainge for his criticism of LeBron James, the Celtics' president of basketball operations responded by saying both sides were right in their opinions.
"Danny Ainge needs to shut the f--- up and manage his own team," Riley said in a statement released through a Heat spokesman. "He was the biggest whiner going when he was playing and I know that because I coached against him."
In response, Ainge noted, "Pat Riley's right. I should manage my own team. I complained a lot to the officials. And I'm right, LeBron should be embarrassed about how he complains about the calls he gets."
Ainge had told Boston sports radio station WEEI that James had no cause to challenge officials for failing to classify fouls by Kirk Hinrich and Taj Gibson on James as flagrant.
“I think that it’s almost embarrassing that LeBron would complain about officiating,” Ainge said. “I think the referees got the calls right. I don’t think it was a hard foul. I think the one involving LeBron against [Carlos] Boozer, that was flagrant. I think the officials got it right.”
After Riley's statement, Ainge said before the Celtics hosted the Hawks, "LeBron should quit complaining. I complained as a player and I should manage my own team. We're both right."
Riley, while presiding as the coach of the Los Angeles Lakers, coached against Ainge and the Celtics in the 1984, 1985 and 1987 NBA Finals.
Celtics coach Doc Rivers, a Riley disciple, had some fun with his two friends.
"I think it’s cool," Rivers said. "I think they should duke it out."
Asked whether he believes it could further stoke the Miami-Boston rivalry, Rivers said, "Not unless they are playing. Really, I just think it’s talk both ways. I’ll let those two grown men handle their own grown-men argument. I’m going to stay out of it. On a side note, it just gives me a smile and it’s interesting. I think it’s fun. It’s a flashback."
Play Podcast ESPN NFL Insider Adam Schefter weighs in on the Panthers' WR situation, Julian Edelman's future with the Patriots, Vince Wilfork's decision to ask for his release and more.
Play Podcast "Spanning the Globe" features ESPN Boston's Mike Reiss, Yahoo! Sports' Eric Edholm and ESPN LA 710's Mark Willard.
Play Podcast Red Sox manager John Farrell talks about whether he expected his team to make such a turnaround in one season, his relationship with his players, fans' expectations for the squad and more.