Win No. 1 for the revamped Miami Heat was coaching
victory No. 1,000 for Pat Riley.
Even without ailing Alonzo Mourning, the Heat meshed marvelously and helped Riley achieve a milestone in their season opener Wednesday night, beating the Orlando Magic 105-79.
Mourning, who will miss this season with a kidney disorder discovered at the start of training camp, received a standing ovation when introduced before the game.
“I appreciate the love, the support, the prayers,” he told the crowd. “That’s going to get me through all of this.”
Looking dapper in a three-piece suit, Mourning watched the game from the end of the bench. At the other end sat Riley, who joined Lenny Wilkens as the only NBA coaches to reach 1,000 wins.
“It’s a wonderful honor,” Riley said. “Now I know how Lenny feels. It’s very satisfying.”
Riley said the pregame tribute to Mourning wasn’t orchestrated to fire up the team, although that may have been the effect.
“Zo hadn’t had a chance to talk to the fans,” Riley said. “He has gotten hundreds and hundreds of cards. There’s a lot of support out there, and some of our guys played a little bit with his face on.”
Miami Shoots 91 Percent to Start
The Magic were also without their best player. Forward Grant Hill sat out because of soreness in his left ankle after playing 33 minutes in a season-opening victory Tuesday over Washington. Hill is still recovering from offseason surgery on the ankle, and his status is day-to-day.
The Heat began the season with four new starters but dominated at the outset thanks to their lone holdover — Tim Hardaway. He scored 12 of the first 27 points for the Heat, who raced to leads of 17-3, 28-7 and 37-14.
“Everybody thinks with Zo not here, we’re just going to lay down and die,” Hardaway said. “We’re not going to do that.”
The Magic missed 12 of their first 16 shots and looked sloppy on defense, while Miami started 11-for-12.
“When you come out and shoot 91 percent in the first eight minutes, it says a lot,” Orlando’s Darrell Armstrong said. “It can say either we’re not playing defense, or they’re just making all their shots. It was both.”
McGrady Cools Down
Hardaway finished with 17 points and seven assists in 25 minutes to help give the Heat their most lopsided win in an opener. Among the newcomers, Eddie Jones had 17 points and reserve Don MacLean 16.
A.C. Green, who signed a one-year, $2.25 million deal with the Heat on Tuesday, played his 1,111th consecutive game, extending his NBA record. He had five points and four rebounds in 15 minutes.
“The Heat sent a message that if you’re a team that works together and plays hard, you can win games,” Orlando coach Doc Rivers said. “That was our message last year. Maybe we forgot.”
Tracy McGrady, who scored a career-high 32 points Tuesday against Washington, had 16 points for the Magic and four of his team’s 29 turnovers.
“Miami forced me to shoot a lot of jumper, which I really didn’t want to do,” McGrady said. “They wouldn’t let me get to the hole. I couldn’t get into my groove.”
Riley, starting his 19th NBA season, reached 1,000 wins in 1,434 games, fewer than any coach or manager in any sport. He trails Toronto’s Wilkens by 179 wins.