Riley: 'It was an absolute officiating tragedy'

MIAMI (AP) -- Miami Heat coach Pat Riley was furious about free
throws after his was awarded only seven foul shots in a 101-87 loss
to the Portland Trail Blazers.

"It was an absolute officiating tragedy," Riley said Wednesday
night. "I thought I was at the comedy store watching some kind of
comedian out there laughing with the Blazers, and talking to them,
and smiling with them. It was so unprofessional.

"You cannot overcome 32-7," Riley said about the free throw
opportunities. "The residual of that is that you go for the home

Earlier this season, Riley publicly derided NBA officiating and
was fined $50,000.

Scottie Pippen, who scored a season-high 26 points, one more
than his previous best set the night before, said he was unaware of
any special treatment from the referees.

"What should I say about that?" Pippen said when told about
Riley's comments. "I didn't see that. It didn't have anything to
do with the outcome of the game."

As for the foul-shooting disparity, Pippen, who made as many
free throws as the entire Heat team, attributed it more to the two
teams' styles of play.

"You aren't going to get free throws if you're standing out
there shooting all jumpers," he said. "We were being aggressive,
taking the ball to the hole, and we were getting calls. You don't
get calls when you play outside."

After Heat assistant coach Stan Van Gundy was called for
technical foul with 49 seconds remaining, referee Derrick Stafford
got into a shouting match with Riley on the sideline.

"It's not about you," Stafford shouted at Riley. "Go on TV

Trail Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks said he was unaware of the
number of foul shots for each team, but declined to comment after
looking at the statistics.

Rasheed Wallace had 22 points, 18 in the second half. Wallace
also was called for a technical foul early in the third quarter.

With Wallace yelling at some courtside fans in the fourth
quarter, Cheeks called him over for a chat. When Wallace went back
into the game, Cheeks told fans to leave his volatile star alone.

"Let me talk to him, y'all don't say nothing," Cheeks pleaded.

But after Wallace hit the next shot, Cheeks laughingly said:
"Go ahead, keep talking to him!"

Eddie Jones scored 20 points for the Heat, and reserve Eddie
House added a season-high 18.

The Trail Blazers eliminated a 12-point Heat lead late in the
first half, going on 14-2 run to tie the game at 41 with two
minutes left. The Heat stayed close for three quarters, but the
Trail Blazers pulled away with 28 points in the fourth quarter,
while the Heat scored 16.

The Trail Blazers headed into the All-Star break with a 22-5
record over their last 27 games, the best in the league.

Game notes
It was the last game before the All-Star break for both
teams. ... Portland's Bonzi Wells limped off the court and into the
locker room early in the third quarter after Miami's Brian Grant
appeared to step on his foot, but he returned late that same
quarter. ... The game was Portland's 13th back-to-back game of the
season. The Trail Blazers are 10-4 in the first game, 7-7 in the
second game.


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