There might not be anyone in the Miami organization who savors NBA playoff time more than Pat Riley, the Heat president with eight championship rings in his collection
Heat president Riley says
team will be ready for playoffs
There might not be anyone in the Miami organization who savors playoff time more than Pat Riley, the Heat president with eight championship rings in his collection. And with Miami on the cusp of setting a franchise record for victories in a season — the team mark is 61, which this Heat squad could match by beating Milwaukee on Tuesday — Riley is ready for another postseason run.
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“It’s the ultimate dream for me,” Riley said.
Riley, 68, last coached on April 16, 2008, the end of Miami’s miserable 15-victory season. All that has happened since is the promotion of Erik Spoelstra to coach, the acquisition of LeBron James, Chris Bosh, Ray Allen, Mike Miller, Shane Battier, Mario Chalmers and others to play alongside Dwyane Wade, two trips to the NBA Finals, one championship and 288 regular-season and playoff victories — third in the league over that span.
Barring a collapse, defending champion Miami will head into the playoffs later this month as the No. 1 overall seed.
“They’re ready,” Riley said. “They know that they have something to play for. They know they have the weapons to go out and play for it. They’re so smart as a team.”
World Peace plans return
Forward Metta World Peace plans to play in the Los Angeles Lakers’ next game, less than two weeks after undergoing left-knee surgery and nearly a month earlier than anticipated.
The Lakers (40-37) host New Orleans on Tuesday night and are in a battle for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference. Utah (41-37) is eighth in the West, a half-game ahead of the Lakers, and the Jazz holds the tiebreaker on Los Angeles.
“All the guys under contract, injured or not injured, we all need each other to make a run at this thing,” World Peace said.
Ex-Auburn player McNeil
gets 15-year split sentence
Former Auburn defensive back Mike McNeil received a 15-year split sentence after pleading guilty to first-degree robbery.
Lee County Circuit Judge Christopher Hughes accepted McNeil’s plea deal as his trial was set to begin. Under the deal, McNeil is required to serve at least three years in prison, plus three years of probation and pay $2,000 in restitution.
McNeil, 24, and three teammates from the Tigers’ 2010 national-championship team were charged with armed robbery and dismissed from the team in March 2011. Antonio Goodwin is serving a 15-year sentence. Dakota Mosley and Shaun Kitchens await trial.
McNeil had 14 tackles in Auburn’s 22-19 victory over Oregon in the BCS National Championship Game in January 2011.
Kolb signs with Buffalo Bills
Quarterback Kevin Kolb arrived in Buffalo to officially sign his two-year contract with the Bills and begin pursuing his latest shot at a starting job. Team officials announced the signing a little over a week after Kolb, 28, agreed to a two-year contract potentially worth more than $12 million.
Kolb spent the past two seasons in Arizona, where injuries hampered his opportunity to prove himself as a starter. The Cardinals released Kolb on March 15. In Buffalo, he gets the opportunity to compete for the starting job with former Seahawk Tarvaris Jackson.
Chargers add ex-Hawk Butler
The San Diego Chargers have agreed to terms with wide receivers Deon Butler and Dan DePalma, and cornerback Cornelius Brown.
Butler, 27, was a Seahawk for the past four seasons. He played in 35 games, catching 57 passes for 611 yards and four touchdowns.
• The $50 million settlement between the NFL and a group of retired players seeking publicity rights has been given preliminary approval by U.S. District Judge Paul Magnuson in Minneapolis.
• Substitute Sergio Aguero slalomed through the defense to score the go-ahead goal in the 78th minute, giving Manchester City a 2-1 victory at Manchester United in an English Premier League soccer match.
Manchester United leads second-place City by 12 points with seven games left in the season.
• Figure skater Evan Lysacek, who won the gold medal at the 2010 Vancouver Olympics and hasn’t competed since, expects to represent the United States again at next year’s Sochi Games.
“I don’t want to come back the same,” said Lysacek, 27, who had surgery in November for a torn abdominal muscle. “I want to come back stronger.”
• The United States beat Finland 3-0 to advance to Tuesday’s gold-medal game at the women’s world hockey championship in Ottawa. Hilary Knight scored the first goal with 6:05 left in the game.
The United States will face Canada in the final.
• Alex Brink, 27, a former Washington State quarterback, was released by the Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the Canadian Football League.
In the past three seasons, Brink played in 26 games, starting seven, and completed 226 of 398 passes (57 percent) for 2,573 yards, with 13 touchdowns and 13 interceptions.
• School officials say UCLA water-polo player Hakop Kaplanyan, 18, was arrested April 2 after a female acquaintance alleged he sexually assaulted her in a campus residence hall. Los Angeles County jail records show Kaplanyan was released on bail April 4.
He has been suspended from the university.
• Snowboarder Chelone Miller, younger brother of Olympic-champion skier Bode Miller, died Sunday in the area of Mammoth Lakes, Calif. He was 29.
The cause of death is being investigated, but authorities say foul play is not suspected.
Seattle Times news services