Riley Calls Out Shaq

by Marcel Mutoni

The Miami Heat haven’t won a game in what seems like forever, and the blame for the team’s struggles can be spread around generously.

There’s Dwyane Wade’s shoulder injury; the Heat’s inability to score (they’re averaging the fewest points of any team in the Association); ‘Toine’s trade (you don’t get rid of a svelte SOB like him without paying a price); and the team’s age (when King Tut’s ancient face was revealed to the general populace for the first time earlier this week, Heat fans asked, “Who’s the young guy?”).

Pat Riley, though, is not afraid to direct the criticism at his biggest star, Shaquille O’Neal. From the Palm Beach Post:

“He’s got to stay on the court,” Riley said. “He’s averaging 5.5 (actually 5.3) fouls per game. He’s forever always on the bench at some time when we need him on the court.

“I’m going to probably get to the point when he gets a couple of fouls on him I’m not going to play him. Like if he gets three, or if he has four fouls, I might (not) play him.”

Now, I know Shaq respects and admires his coach, but calling him out so publicly – O’Neal, a sensitive soul to begin with, and a guy who’s already whining about a lack of touches on the offensive end three ballgames into the season – might not be in Riley’s best interest.